Effect of an AIDS prevention program on the incidence of gonorrhea in enlisted men in the 105 Battalion of the Honduran Army Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/h415pd72r

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  • This study evaluates the effect of an Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) prevention program on the incidence of gonorrhea among the enlisted men in the 105th Battalion of the Honduran Army. The education program was initiated as a result of the high incidence of AIDS in Honduras (more than half of all of the known cases of AIDS in Central America are in Honduras). The AIDS prevention program for this battalion was initiated in July, 1989 and consists of lectures, videos, and printed materials concerning the nature of HIV/AIDS. The program emphasized the use of condoms as a means of avoiding infection: thus the incidence of gonorrhea would also be expected to decrease as a result of the program. The program is presented to new recruits as a portion of their three month basic training in first aid and personal health. Although the AIDS education program provided to the recruits entering the 105th Battalion is similar to that given to recruits entering other battalions, in only the 105th is the program continued after graduation from basic training, where quarterly refresher courses are given throughout the enlisted men's service career. This retrospective observational study compares the prevalence of gonorrhea among the 105th and three other military units that did not receive ongoing AIDS educational program. The prevalence of gonorrhea was used as an indicator of the effectiveness of the program because its prime route of infection (intimate sexual contact) is the same as HIV, and because gonorrhea is easily detected. The study covered the period between January 1990 and December 1993. The data in the study were provided by the Honduran Army and consists of summaries of the results of periodic inspections conducted by military physicians on all enlisted men at approximately 6 week intervals. In these inspections, the enlisted men are medically examined for the presence of signs of gonorrhea. The data include the date of the inspection, the number of soldiers examined, and the number cases of gonorrhea detected. In the Honduran Army, the incidence of gonorrhea has declined significantly in the last four years. It is speculated that at least three contributing factors are responsible: the free distribution of condoms; the increasing awareness and fear of AIDS; and, the specific AIDS education campaigns presented to the enlisted men. The results of this study indicate that significant reductions in the prevalence of gonorrhea occurred in all military units studied and that the rate of reduction in the unit that received the ongoing educational campaign was greater than in the units that did not receive the educational campaign. The study indicates that the provision of ongoing AIDS education to the Honduran enlisted soldiers results in a decrease in the prevalence of gonorrhea. The study also demonstrated the feasibility of conducting research on sexually transmitted diseases in military units.
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