Assessment of Maya women's knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs on sexually transmitted infections in Guatemala: a qualitative pilot study.
BACKGROUND:Despite Guatemala's large indigenous population, indigenous health is often neglected in reported health data and interventions. Although this data is limited in scope, it shows that indigenous people have poorer health outcomes. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are now a growing threat in Guatemala and pose great risk to the wellbeing of its indigenous population. METHODS:This qualitative pilot study assessed the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of STIs through semi-structured interviews among a previously unstudied population of indigenous Maya women (n = 35, ages 18-50) in the six municipalities of Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala. RESULTS:Four key themes were identified: 1) indigenous Maya women have limited factual knowledge about sex and STIs; 2) widespread partner infidelity minimizes women's control over preventing STI contraction; 3) close-knit communities and the resulting heightened fear of gossip prevents communication and hinders care seeking; and 4) lack of quality medical care and inaccessibility of biomedical healthcare systems pose barriers to seeking care for potential STIs. CONCLUSIONS:To address these findings, we suggest methods to improve sexual education, combat male infidelity, promote condom use, and improve health services to reduce the incidence of STIs in Maya Guatemala.
Tasnim, N; Heneine, EM; MacDermod, CM; Perez, ML; Boyd, DL
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