September 12, 2008
The researchers undertook the current study to assess the relationship between sexual compulsivity and a history of sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and diagnosis in a community-based sample of men who have sex with men (MSM) in a mid-size, Midwestern US urban area.
The setting of the study was Indianapolis, Ind. Using a community-based participatory research approach, sexual health data were collected from 504 MSM. The Sexual Compulsivity Scale (SCS) was used to assess sexual compulsivity scores. In the total sample, the reliability and construct validity of the SCS were determined to be high.
Men with high SCS scores reported higher levels of sexual risk behavior with male as well as female partners. Compared to other men, they were significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with STIs (including chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and syphilis). Despite their higher levels of risk, men with high SCS scores were not more likely to have undergone STI testing.
"The SCS may be useful as a supplemental instrument in public health programs and health care settings that encourage men to assess their sexual behaviors and make decisions to pursue STI or HIV screening," the authors concluded. "For those already diagnosed with an STI, the SCS may help providers to identify the cognitive and affective components of sexual behaviors that increase the likelihood that an STI will be transmitted to a sexual partner."