Original Articles

Risk Behaviors and Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Gay and Heterosexual Men Attending an STD Clinic in Tel Aviv, Israel: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Click on the icon on the upper right hand side for the article by Zohar Mor, MD, MPH, MHA, Tamy Shohat, MD, MPH, Yael Goor, BA and Michael Dan, MD.
IMAJ 2012: 14: March: 147-151
Abstract

Background: The increase in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Israel during the last decade raises concerns regarding other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in MSM, which are yet undetermined.

Objectives: To evaluate the STD burden in MSM and heterosexuals visiting the Tel Aviv walk-in STD clinic.

Methods: Records of all male patients who attended the clinic once were reviewed to identify demographic characteristics, behavioural attributes, and test results.

Results: Between 2002 and 2008, 1064 MSM (22%) and 3755 heterosexuals (78%) visited the clinic once. Positivity rates in MSM for HIV, urethral Neisseria gonorrhoea and infectious syphilis were higher than in heterosexuals (2.5%, 2.5%. 0.7% vs. 0.6%, 1.3%, 0.3%, respectively), while urethral Chlamydia trachomatis was higher in heterosexuals than in MSM (2.7% and 1.4%, respectively). MSM tested in our clinic were younger than heterosexuals (P < 0.001), more commonly circumcised (P = 0.03) and Israeli-born (P < 0.001), used substances during sex (P = 0.04), and had prior STD (P < 0.001), a greater number of sexual partners (P < 0.001), and earlier sexual debut (P = 0.02). The final multivariate results for MSM to be diagnosed with HIV/STD were greater number of sexual contacts, previous diagnosis with STD, and infrequent use of condom during anal intercourse.

Conclusions: MSM visiting the Levinsky Clinic had higher rates of HIV/STD than heterosexual males, which correlated with their higher-risk behaviors. The unique characteristics of MSM found in our study, such as sex work, substance use, previous diagnosis of STD, multiple partners and inconsistent use of condom during anal sex should be addressed with innovative interventions to prevent STD/HIV in the gay community in Israel.