Indian Journal of Forensic and Community Medicine

A study on Syphilis screening in Karnataka

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Author Details: Sunil Kumar DR, Kotresh, Prabhudeva, Narayanaswamy, Bharatesh Shetty, Reynold Washington

Volume : 3

Issue : 3

Online ISSN : 2394-6776

Print ISSN : 2394-6768

Article First Page : 176

Article End Page : 179


Background: Syphilis is a common but curable STI especially among high-risk populations in India and FSW are at higher risk of acquiring STIs including syphilis. Limited access to medical care can reduce individual treatment thereby indirectly facilitating transmission within the population. There is increased risk of HIV acquisition and transmission of HIV because of ulcerative syphilis.
·         To know the sociodemographic characteristics, prevalence and treatment rate of syphilis among female sex workers attending KHPT clinics in Karnataka.
Method: The study data was collected from female sex workers attending 168 KHPT programme associated clinics and laboratories in Karnataka12. Out of 24,678 female sex workers, 3715 were selected for study and screened for syphilis. The female sex workers were screened for syphilis collecting blood samples by using Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) test. The sociodemographic characteristics were obtained using a predesigned questionnaire.
Results: Among FSWs 75.61% (2809) were illiterates and 19.36%(720) were literates. 1314(35.37%) were married, 289(7.77%) were Unmarried, 226(6.08%) were divorced and 598(16.09%) were widows. Majority of FSW 2563(68.99%) were soliciting in street/public place, 704(18.95%) were home based and small proportion (6.23%) belong to brothel and Lodge based. Overall, 3715 FSWs were tested for syphilis. Among them 393 (11.89%) were reactive for syphilis. Among the reactive 319(81.17%) were treated for syphilis. The prevalence of syphilis was 11.89% and treatment rate was 81.17% among female sex workers in Karnataka.
Conclusion: The prevalence of syphilis was high among female sex workers attending KHPT clinics in Karnataka and majority of them were treated for syphilis. Even though prevalence of syphilis is more, the treatment coverage was high in female sex workers. Achieving good treatment coverage therefore will help not only to reduce syphilis incidence but also HIV disease burden in the high risk population and general population since the relationship between syphilis and HIV is well established. This study has shown syphilis continues to be highly prevalent among female sex workers and targeted intervention programmes need to focus on curable STI like syphilis.

Female sex workers, Syphilis, STI, RPR, Karnataka