Knowledge and utilization of sexual and reproductive healthcare services among Thai immigrant women in SwedenReport as inadecuate

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BMC International Health and Human Rights

, 16:25

Healthcare availability, practices and development


BackgroundMigration from Thailand to Sweden has increased threefold over the last 10 years. Today Thailand is one of the most common countries of origin among immigrants in Sweden. Since the year 2000, new HIV cases are also more prevalent among Thai immigrants compared to other immigrant nationalities in Sweden. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between knowledge and utilization of sexual and reproductive healthcare services, contraceptive knowledge and socio-demographic characteristics and social capital among Thai immigrant women in Sweden.

MethodsThis is a cross-sectional study using a postal questionnaire to all Thai women 18–64 in two Swedish regions, who immigrated to the country between 2006 and 2011. The questionnaire was answered by 804 women response rate 62.3 %. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used.

ResultsThe majority 52.1 % of Thai women had poor knowledge of where they should turn when they need sexual and reproductive healthcare services. After controlling for potential confounders, living without a partner OR = 2.02, CI: 1.16–3.54, having low trust in others OR = 1.61, CI: 1.10–2.35, having predominantly bonding social capital OR = 1.50, CI: 1.02–2.23 and belonging to the oldest age group OR = 2.65, CI: 1.32–5.29 were identified as risk factors for having poor knowledge. The majority 56.7 % had never been in contact with healthcare services to get advice on contraception, and about 75 % had never been HIV-STI tested in Sweden. Low utilization of healthcare was associated with poor knowledge about healthcare services OR = 6.07, CI: 3.94–9.34 and living without a partner OR = 2.53, CI: 1.30–4.90. Most Thai women had knowledge of how to prevent an unwanted pregnancy 91.6 % and infection with HIV-STI 91.1 %.

ConclusionsThe findings indicate that social capital factors such as high trust in others and predominantly bridging social capital promote access to knowledge about healthcare services.

However, only one-fourth of the women had been HIV-STI tested, and due to the HIV prevalence among Thai immigrants in Sweden, policy makers and health professionals need to include Thai immigrants in planning health promotion efforts and healthcare interventions.

KeywordsSocial capital Immigration Thai women Healthcare utilization HIV-STI AbbreviationsRTBTotal population register

STISexually transmitted infections

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Author: Eva Åkerman - Per-Olof Östergren - Birgitta Essén - Cecilia Fernbrant - Ragnar Westerling


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