Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 172–182 | Cite as

Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men: Experiences with Diagnosis, Treatment, and Reinfection

  • Brian A. Feinstein
  • Trey V. Dellucci
  • Simon Graham
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
  • Brian Mustanski
Article

Abstract

Despite high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young men who have sex with men (YMSM), little is known about their experiences with diagnosis, treatment, and reinfection. To fill this gap, we interviewed 17 YMSM ages 18–29 who participated in an online HIV prevention trial and tested positive for STIs at both the baseline and 3-month follow-up assessments. Participants were asked about their reactions to testing positive, experiences with treatment, disclosure to partners, and changes in thinking and behavior. Reactions were diverse, the most common being surprise and concern. Most participants sought treatment, although type of provider varied (e.g., primary care physician, clinic that specialized in gay/bisexual men’s health). Providers tended to retest participants, but some did so at the incorrect anatomical site. Participants who felt comfortable talking to providers about STIs tended to use their regular provider or one who specialized in gay/bisexual men’s health. Most participants described changes in their thinking and behavior (e.g., increased condom use, fewer sex partners, questioning whether or not they could trust their partners). Most participants disclosed to at least one partner, but some did not remember or were not in contact with partners. Experiences were similar the first and second time participants tested positive for STIs during the study with a few exceptions (e.g., more self-blame and comfort talking to providers the second time). In sum, YMSM have diverse experiences with STI diagnosis and treatment. Implications for public policy and STI prevention are discussed.

Keywords

Young men who have sex with men Sexually transmitted infection Diagnosis Treatment Reinfection 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian A. Feinstein
    • 1
    • 2
  • Trey V. Dellucci
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Simon Graham
    • 3
    • 5
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
    • 3
    • 4
    • 6
  • Brian Mustanski
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Medical Social SciencesNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Northwestern University Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and WellbeingChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training (CHEST)Hunter College of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Health Psychology and Clinical Science Doctoral Training ProgramGraduate Center of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population and Global HealthUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyHunter College of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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