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Determinants of frequent and infrequent STI testing and STI diagnosis related to test frequency among men who have sex with men in the eastern part of the Netherlands: a 6-year retrospective study

01 Jun 2018

Objective

Men who have sex with men (MSM) remain vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and are advised to be tested at least twice a year. The aim of this study was to assess the determinants of test frequency and their associations with an STI diagnosis.

Design

A 6-year retrospective study.

Setting

5 STI clinics in the eastern part of the Netherlands.

Participants

MSM whose mean test interval was 6 months or more were grouped as ‘infrequently tested’ (n=953), and those with a mean test interval less than 6 months were grouped as ‘frequently tested’ (n=658).

Primary and secondary outcome measures

Test frequency and STI diagnosis and determinants.

Results

MSM who were ever diagnosed with an STI (OR=1.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.7), MSM who had never had STI symptoms (OR=0.8, 95% CI 0.6 to 1.0), and MSM who had ever had sex with both men and women (OR=0.6, 95% CI 0.5 to 0.8) were more often frequently tested. Moreover, in both groups, MSM who had ever been notified by a partner (OR=2.2, 95% CI 1.7 to 2.9 infrequently tested; OR=2.0, 95% CI 1.4 to 2.9 frequently tested), MSM who had ever had STI symptoms (OR=1.6, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.1 infrequently tested; OR=1.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.6 frequently tested) and MSM who were ever diagnosed with HIV (OR=2.7, 95% CI 1.5 to 4.6 infrequently tested; OR=6.8, 95% CI 2.6 to 17.5 frequently tested) were more likely to be diagnosed with an STI.

Conclusions

Among MSM visiting STI clinics, those who were ever diagnosed with HIV were more often diagnosed with an STI, but did not visit STI clinics more frequently than HIV-negative MSM. This highlights the necessity of encouraging MSM who are diagnosed with HIV to have STI tests more frequently.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open