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A study of illness behaviour and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) investigated the ways in which women with symptoms potentially attributable to STD reached a decision on whether or not treatment should be sought. It was found that non-treatment of genital symptoms is partially explained by women classifying symptoms as normal: 53% among those not seeking treatment did so, compared to 12% and 10% in the two treated groups. When people are uncertain about symptoms there is a motivation to seek treatment. Thus, nearly all women in this category thought treatment necessary. Even among women who do seek treatment, the majority do so only after a period of waiting. Only 45% and 43% in the two treated groups reported seeking treatment immediately. The biological and sociological background relevant to treatment decisions indicate that it will be difficult to achieve changes in these percentages.