Many Men Who Pay for Sex Have Partners: UK Study
October 6, 2006
In a new study, Dr. Tamsin Groom of Glasgow's Sandyford Initiative reported that almost 50 percent of men in Scotland who pay for sex were in concurrent relationships.
Groom and another Sandyford researcher interviewed 2,500 men attending a sexual health clinic from October 2002 to February 2004. While none was HIV-positive, one in five men had a sexually transmitted infection such as gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis.
The men typically visited sex workers either abroad or at home, but rarely both. Most men said they used condoms, though unprotected sex was more prevalent in men who paid for sex overseas. Of those who reported having unprotected sex with a prostitute, 56 percent had a partner.
"This shows the possibility of sexually transmitted infection and, for men paying for sex abroad, the possibility of acting as a 'bridge' between different populations," said Groom.
One in ten men surveyed said they had paid for sex recently, and 27 percent said they frequently visited prostitutes.
The researchers posited the number of men who pay for sex -- and by extension those with partners -- could be higher since some may not want to acknowledge their actions.
Taking a detailed history when men admit to paying for sex allows health workers the opportunity to promote safer sex and to help minimize the potential harm to the men's partners, the researchers concluded.
The study, "Characteristics of Men Who Pay for Sex: A UK Sexual Health Clinic Survey," was published in Sexually Transmitted Infections (2006;82:364-367).