Congenital syphilis is a major public health concern, even after the implementation of intervention protocols in several countries. This study aimed to analyze the prevalence and socio-demographic, behavioral and institutional factors associated with syphilis in parturient women attending public maternity hospitals in Northeast, Brazil.
A cross-sectional study was conducted from June to September 2010 with a proportionate stratified sampling of 222 parturient women using a structured questionnaire. The study analyzed socio-demographic, behavioral and institutional variables. The structured questionnaire was conducted with parturient women and complementary information was obtained through hospitals records, admission forms and prenatal cards. Data were stored using the Statistical Package SPSS version 18. A descriptive statistical analysis was performed using frequency distribution, central tendency and measures of spread for the variables. A bivariate analysis was done using chi square test and Fisher’s exact test, with a significance level of 5% and a 95% confidence interval, in order to analyze the relation between the variables and risk factors for syphilis. The multivariate logistic regression analysis was done in the statistical package STATA, version 11.0.
The prevalence of syphilis in parturient women was 7.7%. The bivariate analyses showed that the rate was higher among women who: were from Fortaleza (p = 0.019), studied for less than nine years (p = 0.044), had more than one sexual partner in life (p = 0.021), did not live with partner (p = 0.022), used illegal drugs (p < 0.0001), whose partner used illegal drugs and had diagnosis of syphilis (p = 0.001 and p < 0.0001 respectively). The non-adjusted analysis found significant positive association between syphilis and the following variable: being from Fortaleza (OR = 7.26; CI 95% = 1.49-100.20), having studied for less than nine years (OR = 7.97; CI 95% = 0.87-12.89), having more than one sexual partner in life (OR = 3.75; CI 95% = 1.59-107.11), not living with partner (OR = 3.75; CI95% = 1.03-12.15), and parturient women and partner used illegal drugs (OR = 7.34; CI95% = 1.69-27.57; OR = 4.93; CI95% = 1.58-16.05), respectively. The adjusted multiple logistic regression analysis showed that none of the variables remained significant.
This study enabled to identify a high prevalence of syphilis in parturient women and that this situation is associated with socio-demographic, behavioral and institutional variables.