Objectives This study examined the distribution of selected sexually transmitted infections (STI) in men and men having sex with men (MSM) attending STI clinics in the Netherlands, separately for young (≥25 years) and older (>25 years) MSM.
Methods Data from 2004 up to June 2010 from the Dutch national surveillance in the STI centres were used to characterise trends in positivity rate in STI (at least one of the following—chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or HIV). Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with STI positivity in both groups.
Results Older MSM tested more often positive for STI than younger MSM—21.5% vs 18.4%, respectively (p<0.05). However, in older MSM there was a significant decreasing time trend in STI positivity (from 23% in 2004 to 19% in 2010, p<0.05, abstract P1-S2.44 figure 1), while in young MSM the STI positivity rate remained stable over time. In multivariate analyses for young MSM, non-Dutch MSM tested significantly more often positive (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.3 to 1.6), as did those with a previous STI (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.6 to 2.1), known HIV positives (OR 3.1, 95% CI 2.3 to 4.2), sex workers (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.6) and those with a low socio-economic status (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.2 to 1.9). In older MSM, also non-Dutch MSM tested significantly more often positive (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.2), as did those with a previous STI (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.5 to 1.7), known HIV positives (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.8 to 2.1) and those with a low socio-economic status (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.3). In contrast with young MSM, older MSM working as sex workers were at significantly lower risk (OR 0.7, 95% CI 0.6 to 0.9) for testing positive for any STI.
Conclusions Young MSM are a specific group within total group of MSM, with some risk factors differencing from older MSM. While trends in positivity are decreasing over time in older MSM, they remain stable and high in young MSM. Therefore special attention needs to be paid towards counselling and reaching (specific groups of) young MSM, since they are at high risk for STI acquisition and transmission.
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