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Trends in factors indicating increased risk for STI among key subpopulations in the United States, 2002–2015
  1. Jami S Leichliter,
  2. Patricia J Dittus,
  3. Casey E Copen,
  4. Sevgi O Aral
  1. Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jami S Leichliter, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA; jleichliter{at}


Objectives Within the context of rising rates of reportable STIs in the USA, we used national survey data to examine temporal trends in high-risk factors that indicate need for STI/HIV preventive services among key subpopulations with disproportionate STI rates.

Methods We used data from the 2002 (n=12 571), 2006–2010 (n=22 682) and 2011–2015 (n=20 621) National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). NSFG is a national probability survey of 15–44 year olds living in US households. We examined STI risk factors among sexually active men who have sex with men (MSM) and Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, 15–19 year old, 20–24 year old, and 25–29 year old women who have sex with men (WSM) and men who have sex with women (MSW). Risk behaviours included: received money or drugs for sex, gave money or drugs for sex, partner who injected drugs, partner who has HIV, non-monogamous partner (WSM, MSW only) and male partner who had sex with other men (WSM only). Endorsement of any of these behaviours was recoded into a composite variable focusing on factors indicating increased STI risk (yes/no). We used chi-squares and logistic regression (calculating predicted marginals to estimate adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs)) to examine STI risk factors over time among the key subpopulations.

Results From 2002 to 2011–2015, reported STI risk factors did not change or declined over time among key subpopulations in the USA. In adjusted analyses comparing 2002 to 2011–2015, we identified significant declines among WSM: Hispanics (aPR=0.84 (0.68–1.04), non-Hispanic blacks (aPR=0.69 (0.58–0.82), adolescents (aPR=0.71 (0.55–0.91) and 25–29 year olds (aPR=0.76 (0.58–0.98); among MSW: Hispanics (aPR=0.53 (0.40–0.70), non-Hispanic blacks (aPR=0.74 (0.59–0.94) and adolescents (aPR=0.63 (0.49–0.82); and among MSM (aPR=0.53 (0.34–0.84).

Conclusions While reported STIs have increased, STI risk factors among key subpopulations were stable or declined. Condom use related to these risk factors, sexual mixing patterns and STI testing should be examined.

  • STI risk factors
  • national survey
  • temporal trends

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  • Handling editor Adam Huw Bourne

  • Contributors JSL and SOA developed the idea. JSL conducted data analyses and first draft. PJD, CEC and SOA all edited and contributed to the final draft.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Survey was approved by the National Center for Health Statistics Ethics Review Board. As this was a secondary data analysis, we do not have the institutional review board ID No for NSFG approval.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.