Prevalence of delayed treatment for sexually transmitted infections and its determinants in sub-Saharan Africa. A systematic review and meta-analysis


BACKGROUND: Sexually transmitted infection is a common public health issue, and it is characteristically transmitted through sexual intercourse. Around the globe, particularly in less developed countries, delayed treatment of this infection could lead to a health and economic burden. Even though the health and economic burden of sexually transmitted infections is high, studies to identify the pooled proportion and the possible factor of delayed treatment seeking are rare in sub-Saharan African countries. OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of delayed treatment for STIs and its determinants in sub-Saharan African countries. METHOD: Articles searched on search engines like Medline via PubMed, HINARI, Embase, Scopus, Cochrane Library, Science Direct, and websites like Google Scholar. The searching mechanism was using keywords and medical subject heading terms by combining the key terms of the title. To assure the quality of the included articles, Joana Brigg’s Institute critical appraisal checklist was used. To assess the heterogeneity of the studies, a sensitivity analysis was conducted. The PRISMA checklist was used, and to estimate the pooled odds ratio, a random effect model was considered. The pooled odds ratio of 95% CL was used to identify the factors. RESULTS: About 13 studies with 46,722 participants were incorporated. Despite considerable heterogeneity, the pooled prevalence of delayed treatment for STI in Sub-Saharan Africa was 47% (95% CI: 42%–51%, I2 = 98.42, p<0.001). Geographically, the higher pooled prevalence of delayed treatment for STI was in the eastern part of Africa (50%) (95% CI: 41%–59%, I2 = 98.42, p<0.001). Rural residence (OR = 1.44, 95% CI: 1.03–2.01, I2 = 39.3%, p-value = 0.19), poor knowledge about STI (OR = 1.49, 95% CI: 1.04–2.13, I2 = 93.1%, p-value = <0.001), perceived as STIs not serious (OR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.86–2.36, I2 = 73.7%, p-value = 0.022), misconception for STD cause (OR = 1.39, 95% CI: 1.12–1.72), no education (OR = 4.1, 95% CI: 3.4–5.1), primary education (OR = 3.17, 95% CI: 2.23–4.2), and secondary education (OR = 1.57, 95% CI: 1.1–2.76) as compared to secondary and above education were factors associated with delayed treatment for STIs. CONCLUSION: The pooled prevalence of delayed treatment for STIs in Sub-Saharan African countries was high. Poor knowledge, attitude, and educational status affect the treatment delay for STIs. Thus, improving knowledge, educational status, and attitude are highly recommended to reduce the delayed treatment of STIs.


Agimas MC, Solomon M, Shewaye DA, Abebaw Angaw D, Derseh NM




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Education
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment


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