OBJECTIVES: To identify variables that distinguish patients with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) who seek care in public or private health units.
GOAL: To recommend measures for improved care of patients with STIs.
STUDY DESIGN: Patients with STIs were interviewed at public (n = 101) or private health units (n = 124). Information was collected on attitudinal, normative, and self-efficacy beliefs; STI symptoms; health-seeking behavior; sociodemographic characteristics, and on partner referral.
RESULTS: Choosing private health units is favored by age >25 years, favorable beliefs towards private health units (e.g., they cure or prevent STIs and give adequate drug doses); unfavorable beliefs towards public health units (such as they make STIs chronic and have corrupt staff); not being influenced by sexual partner(s) in choice of treatment site, being likely to chose a treatment site if sexual partners were not treated free, and being likely to choose a treatment site if not recommend by a friend. This 9-variable model correctly classified 214 (95%) of the 225 patients (model chi squared = 192, 9 degrees of freedom, P
CONCLUSIONS: Psychosocial variables markedly influence choice of health care provider. Improving quality of care will enhance STI management and help to modify the unfavorable psychosocial beliefs.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (2006) 33 (7): 422-427 [doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000204574.78135.9f]