OBJECTIVE--To study possible "import" routes of HIV infection to Norway (by obtaining information on casual sexual contacts abroad from patients attending an STD clinic), and to assess their behavioural risk factors (such as alcohol intake, use of condom) for HIV infection. DESIGN AND SETTING--Patients visiting the clinic for sexually transmitted diseases (STD), April-June 1989, received a questionnaire. SUBJECTS--606 consecutive persons of whom 599 agreed (98.8%) to participate. We grouped the patients in four categories. 1: Sex with a prostitute during the last 5 years, 2: Homosexuals/bisexuals, 3: prostitutes/intravenous drug abusers (IVDUs) and 4: Other heterosexuals. RESULTS--245 patients (41%) reported having a casual sex partner abroad (M: 182, F: 63), mainly in Europe, particularly in Spain, Denmark and Greece. Outside Europe such contacts were most frequently reported from USA, Brazil and Thailand. Among men who had had sex with a prostitute, 93.5% reported such sex abroad (homosexuals/bisexuals: 63.6%, prostitutes/IVDUs: 66.7%, "other heterosexuals: 32.1%). Homosexual/bisexual men with casual partner(s) abroad used a condom more frequently than did others. CONCLUSION--245 of 599 persons reported casual sex abroad during 1985-1989, and the different "risk groups" reported countries where most HIV infected persons belonged to their own "risk group". We have reason to believe that alcohol intake increased the likelihood of casual sexual activity and decreased the use of condom. Norwegian travellers need more information on the risks of casual sex abroad, the use of condoms and the combination of alcohol intake and casual sex.
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