, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 111-119

HIV Risk Among Patients Attending Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinics in China

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HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are spreading rapidly in China. However, little is known about HIV risk among STD patients. In October–November 1997, we recruited a consecutive sample of 1,371 STD clinic patients from 16 different provinces and municipalities across the country and examined their sexual practices and condom use. We found that the median age for sexual initiation was 22 years for men and 21 years for women, and only a small proportion of men (12%) and women (15%) had used a condom during this first sexual intercourse. Eighty-one percent of men and 53% of women had two or more sexual partners in the past year. During the same period, 78% of men and 44% of women had both steady and nonsteady partners; of those with both types of partners, only 1% of men and 7% of women always used a condom with these partners. Multiple sexual partnerships in the past year were more common among men, older men (over 35 years), and those who had initiated sex at an earlier age. More frequent condom use was associated with being younger, having nonsteady partners, and having used a condom during a first sexual encounter. Our findings underline a need for patient education and condom promotion among STD clinic patients as a part of efforts to prevent the spread of HIV in China.