The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12905-015-0188-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
ML conducted the data analysis, interpreted and composed the manuscript. RM conceived the study, and edited the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Indigenous women in remote North Queensland have a high prevalence of unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and associated health conditions such as sexual transmitted infections (STI). The association of severe pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) with these factors has not been studied. The purpose of this study is to associate the factors with severe PID, as indicated by hospitalization in a high risk population in North Queensland Indigenous communities.
A cross-sectional association of 1445 Indigenous women using linked hospital separation and survey data during 1998–2005.
The mean age of participating women was 37.4 years, 60% were of Aboriginal and 40% were Torres Strait Island (TSI) people. More than half of them (52.5%) were smokers, 9.3% had chlamydia and 2.6% had gonorrhoea with the overall prevalence of STI among those less than 25 years of age being 23.9%. Among the 47 participants diagnosed with PID in the study period, 42.5% were under 25 years and 95.7% (45 cases) were under 55 years (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.2-4.1 among women younger than 25 compared to those 25 years and over). PID was strongly associated with smoking (OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.4-9.2) independent of age, ethnicity, STI and folate status. Low red cell folate increased PID hospitalization by 4 times (95% CI 1.5-13.2 of lowest quartile compared to the highest quartile) regardless of age. Having a STI significantly increased the likelihood of severe PID by 2.2 times (95% CI: 1.03-4.5) in Indigenous women younger than 45 years, independent of smoking and folate level. The risk of PID hospitalization was higher for gonorrheal infections (OR 3.2, 955 CI 1.1-9.6) compared to chlamydial infections (OR 1.5 95% CI 0.7-3.5).
Young Indigenous women in North Queensland communities are at very high risk for STI and PID. Smoking, low folate, and STI are clustered, and are associated with PID hospitalizations. Much of this can be prevented with improved nutrition and access to preventive services, especially tobacco control, regular STI screening and treatment, as well as more investment in sexual health education and awareness.
Additional file 1: ICD codes and pelvic inflammatory disease conditions. Listed in the file are the ICD codes used to generate pelvic inflammatory disease from matched hospitalization separations in the study population as described in the paper. It includes both ICD-9 and ICD-10 versions with corresponding conditions.12905_2015_188_MOESM1_ESM.doc
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