April 1, 2002
Men and teenage boys are far less likely than females to tell their main sexual partners they have been diagnosed with an STD, a small study in France suggests. Researchers found that 14 percent of men diagnosed with an STD in the past five years had not told their main partners, compared with just 2 percent of women. Similarly, 51 percent of boys who had ever been diagnosed with an STD had not talked about it with their partner at the time, in contrast to 9 percent of girls, according to findings published in the February issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections (2002;78:45-49).
However, both sexes -- adults and teens -- usually did not tell past or casual sex partners about their STDs, reported Josiane Warszawski and L. Meyer of the French national research institute INSERM.
Researchers concluded that "procedures must urgently be developed to improve the notification of sexual partners, particularly female partners and adolescents." Females, they note, are particularly unlikely to get early STD testing without such notification -- in part because their STDs are more likely to have no symptoms or visible signs. Women are also at risk of long-term complications from untreated STDs, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and pregnancy complications related to chlamydia or gonorrhea. The study involved 177 adults and 45 adolescents who had been diagnosed with an STD.