Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

Medical News
Gay Men's Perceptions of Sexually Transmissible Infections and Their Experiences of Diagnosis: "Part of the Way of Life" to Feeling "Dirty and Ashamed"

January 13, 2011

The authors introduced the current study by noting that while gay men are more likely than their heterosexual peers to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, little research has focused on gay men's perceptions of STIs other than HIV. Using information from interviews conducted with gay men in Sydney, the team analyzed participants' perceptions of STIs and their experiences of testing and diagnosis.

Advertisement

More than half the men reported having ever been diagnosed with an STI. The infections "were generally regarded as inconvenient consequences of sexual activity." Compared to curable bacterial STIs, recurring viral STIs were perceived as more serious. All STIs were thought of as "considerably less important than HIV." To manage STI risk, the most commonly employed strategies were condom use and regular testing.

"Despite the relative lack of concern attributed to STIs, being diagnosed with an STI could generate feelings of shame, embarrassment, and annoyance," the team wrote. Among some respondents, educational campaigns to destigmatize STIs and promote regular testing appeared to have been effective.

"We believe that to maintain high rates of STI testing among gay men, community education efforts should continue to reduce the stigma associated with STIs, and greater support should be offered to gay men when they receive an STI diagnosis," the authors concluded.

Back to other news for January 2011

Excerpted from:
Sexual Health
11.2010; Vol. 7; No. 4: P. 411-416; Martin Holt, Diana Bernard, Kane Race




This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:
http://www.thebody.com/content/art60174.html

General Disclaimer: TheBody.com is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through TheBody.com should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.