Prevalence and self-reported health consequences of vaginal practices in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : findings from a household survey

Smit, J. and Chersich, M. F. and Beksinska, M. and Kunene, B. and Manzini, N. and Martin Hilber A., and Scorgie, F.. (2011) Prevalence and self-reported health consequences of vaginal practices in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : findings from a household survey. Tropical medicine and international health : TM & IH : a European journal, 16 (2). pp. 245-256.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6002308

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Objectives To investigate population-level prevalence of vaginal practices, their frequency and self-reported health consequences in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Methods A household survey using multi-stage cluster sampling was conducted in 2007. Women aged 18-60 (n = 867) were interviewed on demographics, sexual behaviours and vaginal practices, focusing on intravaginal practices. Design-based analysis used multivariate logistic regression to identify factors associated with intravaginal or any practice. Results Most women currently perform vaginal practices (90.2%), with 34.8% reporting two and 16.3%</=3 practices. Internal cleansing, the commonest practice (63.3% of women), is undertaken frequently (61.6% cleansing twice daily; 20.0% using </=2 products). Fewer report application (10.1%), insertion (11.6%) or ingestion (14.3%) practices. Hygiene is a common motivation, even for the 23.2% of women reporting intravaginal practices around the time of sex. Prevalence of any practice was lower among women with tertiary education than those without primary education (AOR = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.08-0.85), nearly twice as common in sexually active women (95% CI = 1.05-3.56) and increased as overall health status declined. Adjusted odds of intravaginal practices were 1.8-fold higher in women reporting unprotected sex (95% CI = 1.11-2.90). Few reported health problems with current practices (0.6%); though, 12.6% had ever-experienced adverse effects. Conclusions Vaginal practices are common in KwaZulu-Natal. Although self-reported health problems with current practices are rare, high lifetime risk of adverse events and potential for asymptomatic but clinically important damage make continued research important
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Former Units within Swiss TPH > Sexual and Reproductive Health (Zahorka)
UniBasel Contributors:Martin Hilber, Adriane
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Blackwell Science
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:05 Sep 2018 08:01
Deposited On:08 Nov 2012 16:12

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