Background: Reproductive tract infections (RTIs) are global burden and major public health concern, particularly in developing countries. If untreated, RTI's can lead to serious consequences such as ectopic pregnancy, cervical cancer and infertility and increase vulnerability to STIs. However, detection of disease and clinical diagnosis is largely dependent on patients awareness of RTI symptoms and attitude. There is limited publication on the subject in Gulf Arab states.
Objectives: To describe the beliefs and health seeking behavior regarding RTIs among women of the reproductive age, and factors associated with poor knowledge and care seeking behavior for RTIs among Saudi women.
Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted on total of 250 women who attended a primary health care clinic at Khashm Alan in east of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Through a structured interview, participants gave data about demographics, knowledge of RTI's and care seeking behavior. Data were described in terms of frequencies and percentages. Relationships between nominal variables were explored by using Chi-square test. Statistical significance was set to 5% or less.
Result: There were 62.8% of women who had heard of RTIs. Women, who were younger, educated, and employed or studying had higher awareness and knowledge on RTIs and sought medical care more than others. Women who were more aware, had experience, were younger, literate and not homebound were more likely to seek medical care if needed for RTIs. Television and Internet were significant sources of information for RTIs.
Conclusion: Reproductive health awareness programs should focus on homebound, less educated and elder women. Television and internet are reliable resources for delivering reproductive health messages to the target population.
Key words: Reproductive tract, reproductive health, knowledge