He does not want it with condom and I want to protect myself: exposure of female adolescents to STD/AIDS in the semi-arid region of the Brazilian northeast

The dissemination of AIDS has suffered changes in its profile and the increase in cases among women has been more and more frequent, contributing decisively to the phenomenon called the feminization of AIDS. Taking this fact into account, the objective of this work is to examine the exposure of adolescents to STD / AIDS in the semi-arid region located in the Northeast of Brazil. The applied methodology was supported by the qualitative approach in health, and Discursive Practices and Production of Meaning (Spink, 2004; Medrado and Spink, 1999) were used as the theoretical and methodological model. Three methodological strategies were used for data collection: 1,024 hours of participant observation, 72 semi-structured interviews and 36 focus groups, comprising two groups of actors: 72 professionals of 8 health teams and 360 adolescents of both sexes. From the analysis of results it was possible to verify that the Northeastern reality is permeated by characteristics that make the women vulnerable to STD / AIDS, such as: a) low educational levels; b) unequal gender relations; c) absence of a prevention policy targeted at teenagers; d) lack of bonds between health professionals and the population; e) the frequent understanding of health services as a space exclusively for women. In light of this context, we point to the need of policies of integral health care to adolescents that approach the sexual and reproductive rights in a gender perspective for the effective prevention of STD / AIDS, exerting a direct impact on improving the quality of their lives.

Gender; Teenagers; Family Health; Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: saudesoc@usp.br