Correlates of sexually transmitted infection histories in a cohort of American male health professionals
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Several epidemiologic studies have investigated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and later risk of genitourinary conditions with suggestive positive results. While these results may reflect causal associations, other possible explanations include confounding by factors possibly related to both STI acquisition and genitourinary condition risk such as recognized STI-risk factors/correlates, and other factors not typically considered in relation to STIs (e.g., general health-related behaviors or markers of such behaviors). Very few of these factors have been investigated in older populations in which STIs and genitourinary conditions are typically studied. Therefore, we investigated STI history correlates in one such population, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
We ascertained histories of potential correlates, gonorrhea, syphilis by questionnaire (n = 36,032), and performed serologic testing for Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, human papillomavirus, and human herpesvirus type 8 infection in a subset (n = 651).
Positive correlations were observed for African–American race, foreign birth, southern residence, smoking, alcohol consumption, ejaculation frequency, vasectomy, and high cholesterol. Inverse correlations were observed for social integration and routine health-related examinations.
These findings provide useful information on potential confounders for epidemiologic investigations of STIs and chronic diseases, and interesting new hypotheses for STI prevention (e.g., STI counseling before vasectomy).
KeywordsSexually transmitted diseases Epidemiology Confounding factor (epidemiology)
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