OBJECTIVE--To compare the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in British troops in the tropics with that in a standard population. DESIGN--Retrospective analysis of STD clinic records over one calendar year. SETTING--A British Military Hospital in the Tropics serving 1441 resident personnel. SUBJECTS--All patients attending a STD clinic. MAIN FINDINGS--815 cases of STD were recorded during the study period, giving incidence rate of 56,558 per 100,000 population per year. When compared with a matched population from England and Wales, the age standardised relative risk for STD amongst tropical troops was 25.0 (95% confidence interval 24.9 to 25.1). Thirty nine percent of cases reported prostitute contact as a source of their disease. Of patients questioned about condom usage, 70% reported that they did not normally use a condom. CONCLUSIONS--British troops spending short periods of time in a tropical environment are significantly more likely to acquire a STD than men in the same age groups in England and Wales. The proportions of cases who reported that they did not use condoms and the number who cited prostitute contact as a source of infection indicate that even greater sexual education of troops on deployment overseas may be required.
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