Changing Beliefs and Behaviors Related to Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Vulnerable Women: A Qualitative Study

Zahra Boroumandfar, Masoud Kianpour, Ali Zargham, Samereh Abdoli, Katayoun Tayeri, Mehrdad Salehi, Godratollah Momeni, Farzin Khorvash


Background: The first step in health education is awareness of the people and their acceptance to change their behavior. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of empowerment program towards the concept of self‑care and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in women at risk of STDs.

Materials and Methods: The present study was conducted as a qualitative approach (step of action and observation of an action) by using conventional content analysis method. An empowerment program regarding STDs (Action) was performed among 32 (with convenient sample) drug user women with addicted husbands referring to the counseling center for vulnerable women (drop in enter) in Isfahan in 2015. The knowledge of quiddity, transmission, and prevention of STDs, as well as some items of life skills such as self‑awareness, interpersonal communication, and assertive behavior were taught in an educational program. Teaching methods were lectures, group, and individual training and role play. The impact of the program on modified belief and behavior change regarding STDs was evaluated with structured interviews.

Results: Analysis of the obtained results yielded three categories. The categories were awareness of STD, believing in being at risk, and decision and change.

 Conclusions: Promoting self‑care and prevention through education programs based on action research can make a significant reduction in the incidence of problems and cause a behavior change in women with the disease or those at risk for STDs.


High‑risk sex; qualitative research; sexually transmitted diseases; unprotected sex; vulnerable population

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