Introduction Gonorrhoea rate continues to increase at alarming rates among men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly in young MSM, in Australia and worldwide. A recent study has shown that use of antiseptic alcohol-containing mouthwash can inhibit the growth of gonorrhoea in the pharynx. The aim of this study was to examine the willingness of MSM to change their behaviours to reduce the risk of gonorrhoea.
Methods A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted among MSM attending the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Australia, between March and September 2015. Participants were asked how likely they would change their behaviours to reduce the risk of pharyngeal gonorrhoea. Six different strategies were asked: (1) stop tongue kissing with partners; (2) stop having receptive oral sex from partners (partner’s penis in participant’s mouth); (3) stop rimming partners (participant’s tongue in or around partner’s anus); (4) stop using saliva as lube for anal sex; (5) use condoms for oral sex; and (6) use alcohol-containing mouthwash daily.
Results A total of 926 MSM were surveyed with a median age of 29 (IQR 25–36) years. The majority of MSM (65% [95% CI 62%–69%]) expressed they were likely to use mouthwash daily to reduce the risk of pharyngeal gonorrhoea, followed by stop using saliva as lube (63% [95% CI 60%–66%]), and stop performing rimming (49% [95% CI 46%–53%]). In contrast, the majority of MSM (78% [95% CI 75%–80%]) expressed they were unlikely to stop kissing to reduce the risk of pharyngeal gonorrhoea. Young MSM were more likely to use mouthwash daily to reduce the risk of gonorrhoea compared to older MSM.
Conclusion Men are less likely to change their sexual practices to reduce the risk of pharyngeal gonorrhoea however they are likely to use mouthwash daily to reduce the risk, particularly younger MSM.