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Self-reported STIs and sexual health checks in a cross-sectional study of gay and bisexual men in New Zealand
  1. Nigel Dickson1,
  2. Adrian Ludlam2,
  3. Peter Saxton2,
  4. Anthony Hughes3
  1. 1Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. 2Department of Social and Community Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  3. 3New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nigel Dickson, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand; nigel.dickson{at}


Objectives To determine the incidence of self-reported sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexual health checks in community and internet samples of New Zealand gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and factors associated with these.

Methods We analysed anonymous self-completed data from 3138 MSM who participated in the location-based Gay Auckland Periodic Sex Survey (GAPSS) and the internet-based Gay Online Sex Survey (GOSS) undertaken in February 2011.

Results Overall 8.2% of the participants reported at least one STI in the previous 12 months, which did not differ significantly by demographic factors or HIV status. While having anal sex and more partners were associated with more STI, after adjustment for the number of partners, the type of partner (regular or casual) was not. Medium and low condom users reported STIs more than high condom users, regardless of partner type. Overall 40% had a sexual health check-up without an STI diagnosed in the past year, with similar numbers attending general practice and sexual health clinics. Having a check-up was lower among Pacific and Asian men, those identifying as bisexual and recruited online. While those with more partners, having anal intercourse and diagnosed with HIV were more likely to go for a check-up, those using condoms less often were not.

Conclusions STIs are commonly reported in this community sample of MSM but will underestimate the true incidence due to asymptomatic infection. Screening for STIs outside sexual health clinics should be normalised for MSM and made accessible, safe and relevant.

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Service Delivery
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