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Duke University

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Brazil: Public Health, Race, and Human Rights


This study investigates the social factors that affect the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) in young women, focusing on their knowledge of the subject and use of prevention methods in order to discover why STIs, though preventable, are still prevalent in the lives of young adults, and more often, young women. Sixty-one anonymous, closed questionnaires were distributed to female students of at least eighteen years at the Colegio Estadual Francisco da Conceição Menezes in Santo Antônio de Jesus, Bahia, Brazil, and six structured interviews were conducted with students from the same pool. Results showed varying levels of knowledge, educational experiences, and use of resources for information about STIs among the students. While personal practices of prevention methods differed between the young women, their perception of their peers’ use of prevention methods was similar, although inaccurate when considering the quantitative data. All students know where to get condoms for free, although the actual use and non-use of condoms had a significant male-influence. Recommendations made by the researcher looked to facilitate the relationship between student and family as a resource for sexual health information, to create long-term sexual health educative classes for young women run by the health posts, and to open up the dialog between health professionals and men with men’s health campaigns and male-targeted health care. Additionally, this research calls for a similar study to be done with the population of young men to determine the factors that affect their decisions to use or not use condoms in their sexual activity, in order to holistically analyze the social influence on the sexual health and safe-sex practices of young-adults.


Civic and Community Engagement | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Public Health Education and Promotion


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