Men's Sexual Health and Health Care Utilization in Slum Communities in Mumbai, India

Abdelwahed Mekki-Berrada, University of Connecticut Health Center
Sharad S. Narvekar, Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society
Ravi K. Verma, Population Council
Niranjan Saggurti, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

This paper explores the nature and prevalence of men's STDs and culturally defined sexual dysfunctions known as "gupt rog" ("secret illness" in Hindi), as well as men's treatment seeking behaviors and the approaches allopaths and traditional healers utilize to address these problems. The research team merged qualitative and quantitative analyses of data collected among 2,716 respondents, including married men, allopaths and traditional healers in three slum communities of Mumbai, India. Preliminary results indicate that: Men avoid public health facilities, and take significantly less treatment-actions for STDs than for gupt rog. Allopaths tend to deny the consequences and cultural importance of gupt rog, and while traditional healers are lacking accurate knowledge of STDs, they nevertheless suggest treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Results suggest that it would be highly inappropriate for any entity seeking to address sexually transmitted diseases in India to ignore the gupt rog problems.

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Presented in Session 19: Reproductive Health in Developing Countries I