Background:: Although the national rate of gonorrhea declined 68% from 1975 to 1995, rates remain high in many inner‐city areas. In 1995, the gonorrhea rate in Newark, NJ, was five times the US rate.
Objective:: To determine factors associated with acquisition of gonorrhea by men in Newark.
Study Design:: A case‐control study conducted at the sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic in Newark, comparing males 15 to 29 years with culture‐confirmed gonorrhea to controls with no STD.
Results:: Compared with controls, males with gonorrhea more frequently reported at least 1 casual sex partner within the preceding month (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 3.2; 95% CI, 1.8‐5.7), sex after using marijuana during the preceding month (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.1‐5.3), and a history of incarceration (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.2‐3.7). Of males with casual partners, having a new casual sexual relationship (onset within the past month) was particularly risky for gonorrhea (OR, 3.9; 95% CI, 1.2‐12.7). Incorrect condom use was highly prevalent for both cases and controls. Many persons with gonorrhea reported that they were not willing to consistently use condoms or to have only one partner.
Conclusions:: Sex with casual partners is associated with gonorrhea in males, and may be a difficult practice to change. Condoms are often used incorrectly, if at all, in this population. Prevention strategies, in addition to the promotion of condom use and monogamy, may be necessary.