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A Spatial Analysis of County-Level Variation in Syphilis and Gonorrhea in Guangdong Province, China

Citation

Tan, Nicholas X.; Messina, Jane P.; Yang, Li-Gang; Yang, Bin; Emch, Michael E.; Chen, Xiang-Sheng; Cohen, Myron S.; & Tucker, Joseph D. (2011). A Spatial Analysis of County-Level Variation in Syphilis and Gonorrhea in Guangdong Province, China. PLOS ONE, 6(5), e19648. PMCID: PMC3089632

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Sexually transmitted infections (STI) have made a resurgence in many rapidly developing regions of southern China, but there is little understanding of the social changes that contribute to this spatial distribution of STI. This study examines county-level socio-demographic characteristics associated with syphilis and gonorrhea in Guangdong Province.
METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study uses linear regression and spatial lag regression to determine county-level (nā€Š=ā€Š97) socio-demographic characteristics associated with a greater burden of syphilis, gonorrhea, and a combined syphilis/gonorrhea index. Data were obtained from the 2005 China Population Census and published public health data. A range of socio-demographic variables including gross domestic product, the Gender Empowerment Measure, standard of living, education level, migrant population and employment are examined. Reported syphilis and gonorrhea cases are disproportionately clustered in the Pearl River Delta, the central region of Guangdong Province. A higher fraction of employed men among the adult population, higher fraction of divorced men among the adult population, and higher standard of living (based on water availability and people per room) are significantly associated with higher STI cases across all three models. Gross domestic product and gender inequality measures are not significant predictors of reported STI in these models.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Although many ecological studies of STIs have found poverty to be associated with higher reported STI, this analysis found a greater number of reported syphilis cases in counties with a higher standard of living. Spatially targeted syphilis screening measures in regions with a higher standard of living may facilitate successful control efforts. This analysis also reinforces the importance of changing male sexual behaviors as part of a comprehensive response to syphilis control in China.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0019648

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2011

Journal Title

PLOS ONE

Author(s)

Tan, Nicholas X.
Messina, Jane P.
Yang, Li-Gang
Yang, Bin
Emch, Michael E.
Chen, Xiang-Sheng
Cohen, Myron S.
Tucker, Joseph D.

PMCID

PMC3089632