Sexual Health Information and uptake of Sexual Health Services by African women in Scotland: A Pilot Study

B. D. Yakubu, P. Simkhada, E. Van Teijlingen, W. Eboh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


UK sub-Saharan African immigrants are disproportionably affected by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and there is little evidence that they are utilising sexual health facilities effectively. Information is lacking on how African women utilise sexual health services. Research shows that they report late for diagnosis of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) especially HIV. Many are diagnosed in antenatal clinics or general hospital settings rather than in sexual health clinics. These routes of diagnosis have implications for their sexual health well being. First, only pregnant women are likely to be diagnosed early and secondly others are diagnosed late, when they show HIV-related symptoms. They lack up-to-date information regarding STIs including HIV/AIDS. This paper identifies sources of sexual health information available to African women and assesses its effects on their uptake of sexual health services. A two-phase research was conducted with African women living in Scotland. Phase 1 consists of a survey and Phase 2 focus group discussions. We surveyed African women living in Scotland in 2007 aged between 16 and 55. The questionnaire covered knowledge of STIs, perception of risk of infections, attitude and sources of STI information. Of the 700 questionnaires, 96 women from 13 African countries completed the questionnaires. Analysis showed that 79% of the participants have university qualification, 74.2% (employed), 54.4% (married or living with partners), 68.8% had sexual relationships and 47% are recent migrants (<5 years). Their knowledge of STI varied and fewer than 15% use sexual health services. Most (73%) do not perceive themselves to be at risk of infection. Greatest threat to their sexual health is partner's behaviour. Their main source of sexual health information is from non-health care sources. There is very little contact with health professionals. There is urgent need for health promotional activities and research to identify social and cultural issues that contribute to non use of sexual health services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Health Promotion and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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