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Reading: Recent experiences with the Telephone helpline service at the central STD clinic, Colombo.

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Original Articles

Recent experiences with the Telephone helpline service at the central STD clinic, Colombo.

Authors:

WSC Dileka ,

Base hospital, Wathupitiwala, LK
About WSC
(MBBS, Pg Dip M&E, Pg Dip Ven, MD), Acting Venereologist
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KYD Perera,

LK
About KYD
(MBBS, Pg Dip CH, PgHQPS, Pg Dip M&E, MSc.Med Admin), Registrar in Med Adm
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HMAH Karunaratne,

National STD/AIDS Control Programme, Colombo., LK
About HMAH
(MBBS, PgDip Ven, Pg Dip M&E, MD), Acting Venereologist
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MPVR Perera,

National STD/AIDS Control Programme, Colombo, LK
About MPVR
(MBBS, Pg Dip Ven, MD); Acting Venereologist
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KACR Wijesekara

National STD/AIDS Control Programme, Colombo., LK
About KACR
(MBBS, PG Dip in Ven, MD); Acting Venereologist,
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Abstract

Introduction: The telephone helplines of the central STD clinic, Colombo provide sexual health information and guidance on STI care and treatment for the general public. However, caller profiles have not been explored or analyzed systematically during the recent past. 
Objectives:  To describe the caller profiles and the content of the calls received to the telephone helpline.
Methods: Details on all 215 telephone calls received to helpline during April-July, 2019 were recorded using a data extraction sheet after the verbal consent of the client.
Results: Most callers (93%) were males with the median age of 22 years (range 15-65) and well educated (51%). The majority were first-time callers (84%).  Reasons for calling included to inquire service delivery points (78%), HIV or HIV testing (62%), HIV symptoms (58%), Pre Exposure Prophylaxis related (11%), STI symptoms (21%) and sexual dysfunctions (12%). Thirty-four (34%) were due to misconceptions related to sexual health and HIV. Most callers (59%) discovered the hotline through internet (n= 126) while almost 10% were linked at a lecture and 6.5% by a peer and the rest as a result of TV programmes or newspaper articles 
Conclusions: People are using telephone helpline effectively. Therefore, further advertising on helpline through social media and other web sites and expansion of the services to the periphery is recommended. Reasons for less inquiries made by females should be further explored and attended. Timely actions to alleviate misconceptions regarding sexual health and HIV while raising awareness on available services need to be encouraged.
How to Cite: Dileka, W., Perera, K., Karunaratne, H., Perera, M. and Wijesekara, K., 2019. Recent experiences with the Telephone helpline service at the central STD clinic, Colombo.. Sri Lanka Journal of Sexual Health and HIV Medicine, 5, pp.25–29. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/joshhm.v5i0.87
Published on 30 Dec 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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