The Italian STD 'hot-line': Making people aware

Fausto Boselli, Giuseppe Chiossi, Andrea Gallinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: To increase the accessibility of qualified and anonymous information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Italy, a national telephone hotline was initiated in February 1997. Goal: The goal was to determine the profile of callers to the national STD hotline, assess their concerns, identify their sources for the hotline telephone number, and to compare callers' disease interests with diagnoses made at STD clinics. Study Design: The survey analyzed 3577 calls received from February 1997 to December 1999. Hotline operators addressed callers' questions, asked 6 short-answer questions, and recorded the data collected. Results: The survey showed callers' sex distribution (49.8% women, 50.2% men), average age (women's mean ± standard deviation [SD], 34.3 ± 11.8 y; men's mean ± SD, 36.2 ± 12.2 y), level of education (66.4% had a secondary school degree), residence (47.9% northern part of Italy), risk category (44% reported being definitely infected by a STD), specific disease interest (30% were concerned about HIV), and source of hotline telephone number (67.3% learned the hotline telephone number from magazines or newspapers). Hotline callers' specific disease interests were compared with diagnoses made at STD clinics; the top 4 disease concerns of hotline callers were HIV, genital herpes, human papillomavirus/genital warts, and mycosis, whereas the top 4 diagnoses made at STD clinics were genital warts, nonspecific vaginitis, nonspecific urethritis, and genital herpes. Conclusion: The hotline seems to be an effective way to deliver information and to allay fears about STDs, although it needs to be promoted more widely, especially in central and southern Italy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-712
Number of pages6
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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