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Correlates of Engaging in Unprotected Sex While Experiencing Dysuria or Discharge: A Study of Men With Confirmed Gonorrhea

Crosby, Richard A. PhD*†; Liddon, Nicole PhD; Martich, Frederick A. BS; Brewer, Toye MD§

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: July 2004 - Volume 31 - Issue 7 - p 421-423
doi: 10.1097/01.OLQ.0000130534.12309.2C

Objectives: To identify the prevalence and correlates of engaging in unprotected sex while experiencing symptoms of gonorrhea among a sample of men with a laboratory confirmed diagnosis.

Methods: Cross-sectional interview data were analyzed from 237 men, reporting dysuria or discharge, with a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of gonorrhea.

Results: A total of 21.1% reported engaging in unprotected sex while having symptoms. In multivariate analyses, men engaging in sex ≥5 times in the past 30 days were 3.5 times more likely to report unprotected sex while symptomatic (P = 0.001). Men reporting condom use ≤50% of the time (past month) were 2.7 times more likely to report the risk behavior under investigation (P = 0.008). Men never having a previous STD were 2.7 times more likely to engage in the risk behavior (P = 0.006).

Conclusions: The prevalence of this risk behavior was markedly lower compared to a recent study that was not restricted to gonorrhea. Counseling protocols specifically designed for men who continue to engage in unprotected sex after experiencing gonorrhea-related dysuria and discharge may be valuable for preventing the transmission of gonorrhea to women.

A study of men with dysuria or discharge revealed 3 significant correlates of having unprotected sex after symptom onset: frequent sex, infrequent condom use, and not previously having an STD.

From the *Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral Sciences & Health Education, Atlanta, Georgia; Emory Center for AIDS Research, Atlanta, Georgia; Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of STD Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; and §University of Miami, School of Medicine, Miami, Florida

Correspondence: Richard A. Crosby, PhD, College of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior, University of Kentucky, 121 Washington Ave., Room 111C, Lexington, KY 40506-0003. E-mail:

Received for publication October 17, 2003, revised January 27, 2004, and accepted February 11, 2004.

© Copyright 2004 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association