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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Self-reported sexually transmitted infections and their correlates among men who have sex with men in Norway: an Internet-based cross-sectional survey

Irena Jakopanec1, Barbara Schimmer2, Andrej M Grjibovski134, Elise Klouman13 and Preben Aavitsland1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, PO Box 4404 Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo, Norway

2 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands

3 Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway

4 International School of Public Health, Northern State Medical University, Arkhangelsk, Russia

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:261  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-261

Published: 6 September 2010

Abstract

Background

The incidences of reportable sexually transmitted infections (STI) among men who have sex with men (MSM) have increased since the late 1990 s in Norway. The objectives of our study were to assess factors, associated with recent selected STI among MSM, living in Norway in order to guide prevention measures.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional Internet-based survey during 1-19 October 2007 among members of a MSM-oriented Norwegian website using an anonymous questionnaire on demographics, sexual behaviour, drug and alcohol use, and STI. The studied outcomes were gonorrhoea, syphilis, HIV or Chlamydia infection in the previous 12 months. Associations between self-reported selected STI and their correlates were analysed by multivariable Poisson regression. P value for trend (p-trend), adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) with 95% confidence intervals [] were calculated.

Results

Among 2430 eligible 16-74 years old respondents, 184 (8%) reported having had one of the following: syphilis (n = 17), gonorrhoea (n = 35), HIV (n = 42) or Chlamydia (n = 126) diagnosed in the past 12 months. Reporting Chlamydia was associated with non-western background (PR 2.8 [1.4-5.7]), number of lifetime male partners (p-trend < 0.001), unsafe sex under the influence of alcohol (PR 1.8 [1.1-2.9]) and with younger age (p-trend = 0.002). Reporting gonorrhoea was associated with unrevealed background (PR 5.9 [1.3-26.3]), having more than 50 lifetime male partners (PR 4.5 [1.3-15.6]) and more than 5 partners in the past 6 months (PR 3.1 [1.1-8.8]), while mid-range income was protective (PR 0.1 [0.0-0.6]). Reporting HIV was associated with residing in Oslo or Akershus county (PR 2.3 [1.2-4.6]), non-western background (PR 5.4 [1.9-15.3]), unrevealed income (PR 10.4 [1.5-71.4]), number of lifetime male partners (p-trend < 0.001) and being under the influence of selected drugs during sex in the past 12 months (PR 5.2 [2.7-11.4]). In addition, the frequency of feeling drunk was reversibly associated with HIV.

Conclusions

Our study demonstrates different associations of demographic and behavioural factors with different STI outcomes in the study population. Number of lifetime male partners was the most important potential predictor for Chlamydia and HIV. The STI prevention efforts among MSM should focus on Oslo and Akershus, promote safe sex practices and tackle sex-related drug and alcohol use.