BACKGROUND: Sexually transmitted diseases in children remain a public health concern that is relatively ignored. Further data are required on the management of these diseases and their association with child sexual abuse. OBJECTIVES: To describe the clinical and epidemiological profile of sexually transmitted diseases in children receiving care at a referral center in the city of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. METHODS: A descriptive, exploratory study was conducted to evaluate the clinical, epidemiological and laboratory characteristics of the sexually transmitted diseases (STD) found in children who received care at this clinic between January 2003 and December 2007. RESULTS: A total of 182 children with STDs were included in the study. The majority were female (65.4%), dark-skinned and with a mean age of 8.5 years. Furthermore, 89% were from the city of Manaus and their parents were usually responsible for having brought them to the clinic. Genital warts constituted the principal diagnosis in children of both sexes and 90.1% of the children had only one STD. CONCLUSIONS: The frequencies and clinical characteristics of the STDs in the children in this study were similar to data reported in the literature. Although the signs and symptoms of the STDs found in these children do not, in themselves, constitute reliable parameters by which to confirm abuse, professionals should always be alert to this possibility, since these diseases may represent a sign of sexual offenses that may be dissimulated and repetitive.
Child; Epidemiology; Sexually transmitted diseases