Background In recent years, the number of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) has skyrocketed in Australia and cause a considerable burden on public health. The association between STIs and sexual behaviour is well-established in high-risk populations but information about the general population is less well-known. ASHR2 provides population-based data about the sexual health and practices of Australians. This analysis examines the associations between STIs and sexual behaviour.
Methods Computer-assisted telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample of the Australian population aged 16–69. Participants were surveyed about their sexual behaviour and experiences with STIs. Responses were weighted based on study design, location, and the age and sex distribution of Australia. Univariate logistic regression was used to determine the associations between sexual behaviour, testing history and diagnosis.
Results A total of 20 094 men and women were interviewed, with an overall participation rate of 66.2%. A higher proportion of women (17.3%) were tested than men (13.2%) in the past year. Men and women were more likely to have been tested in the past year if they identified as bisexual (or homosexual for men), were of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, had >1 partner in the past year, had a previous STI and had ever injected drugs. In the year prior to being interviewed, 1.1% of men and 2.7% of women reported having an STI. Diagnosis was associated with having >1 partner in the past year, sex work as a worker and having ever injected drugs for both men and women. For men, diagnosis was also associated with sex work as a client (OR = 3.14 [95% CI: 1.78–5.56]) while diagnosis in women was associated with receiving sex education at school (OR = 1.59[95% CI: 1.14–2.21]).
Conclusion Australian women are tested more frequently for STIs and are diagnosed more frequently despite sharing similar associations for STIs as men.
Disclosure of interest statement No conflict of interest.
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