OBJECTIVES: To compare variables of sexual behaviour and incidence of genital infections among heterosexual men of different racial origins. DESIGN: A prospective cross sectional study of sexual behaviour reported by a standardised self administered questionnaire in new patients who presented for screening and diagnosis. SETTING: A genitourinary medicine clinic in west London. SUBJECTS: 1212 consecutive heterosexual men newly attending in 1993-4. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Variables relating to sociodemographic status, sexual behaviour, condom use, sexually transmitted diseases, and other genital infections stratified by racial origin. RESULTS: There were 941 evaluable heterosexual men of whom the majority were white (79%) and 17% were black. The black men comprised more teenagers (11% cf 2%; p < 0.00001), were more likely to be unemployed (26% cf 12%; p < 0.00001), to have commenced intercourse much earlier (45% cf 22% before aged 16: p < 0.0001), and to have had intercourse with an African woman (14% cf 6%; p < 0.001). Both fellatio (64% cf 96%; p < 0.00001) and cunnilingus (40% cf 92%; p < 0.00001) were practised less frequently by the black men and so too was anal intercourse (11% cf 27%; p < 0.00001). Similar proportions from both groups were non-smokers (53% cf 57%), but a significantly higher proportion of the black men did not drink alcohol (13% cf 5%; p < 0.001). Gonorrhoea (15% cf 1%; p < 0.00001), chlamydial infection (17% cf 8%; p < 0.001), and non-gonococcal urethritis (37% cf 24%; p = 0.001) were diagnosed more frequently in the black men. These findings remained significant after logistic regression and are therefore independently associated with black race. However, there was no significant difference in numbers of sexual partners in the preceding year (median 2), nor in condom use with regular and non-regular partners. The Asian men had commenced intercourse later (mean 19.1 years) than both the black men (mean 15.9 years) and the white men (mean 17.3 years). CONCLUSIONS: Compared with white men, black men attending a genitourinary medicine clinic were much more likely to be unemployed, to have commenced intercourse earlier and to have urethral infection. They were much less likely to practice fellatio, cunnilingus, or anal intercourse. However, there was no difference between the two racial groups in respect of numbers of sexual partners and condom use.
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