Sexually active older Australian’s knowledge of STIs & safer sexual practices

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2017  doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12655

Lyons, A., Heywood, W., Fileborn, B., Minichiello, V., Barrett, C., Brown, G., Hinchliff, S., Malta, S. and Crameri, P.

Abstract:

Objective: Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are rising among older Australians. We conducted a large survey of older people’s knowledge of STIs and safer sexual practices.

Methods: A total of 2,137 Australians aged 60 years and older completed the survey, which included 15 questions assessing knowledge of STIs and safer sexual practices. We examined both levels of knowledge and factors associated with an overall knowledge score.

Results: In total, 1,652 respondents reported having sex in the past five years and answered all knowledge questions. This group had good general knowledge but poorer knowledge in areas such as the protection offered by condoms and potential transmission modes for specific STIs. Women had better knowledge than men. Men in their 60s, men with higher education levels, and men who thought they were at risk of STIs reported better knowledge than other men. Knowledge was also better among men and women who had been tested for STIs or reported ‘other’ sources of knowledge on STIs.

Conclusions: Many older Australians lack knowledge of STIs and safer sexual practices.

Implications for public health: To reverse current trends toward increasing STI diagnoses in this population, policies and education campaigns aimed at improving knowledge levels may need to be considered.

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Future prospects for new vaccines against STIs

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, February 2017 – Volume 30 – Issue 1 – p 77–86
This review provides an update on the need, development status, and important next steps for advancing development of vaccines against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including herpes simplex virus (HSV), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea), Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia), and Treponema pallidum (syphilis).

Major progress is being made in addressing the large global unmet need for STI vaccines. With continued collaboration and support, these critically important vaccines for global sexual and reproductive health can become a reality.

  • Full text (open access) available here

Correlation between pubic hair grooming and STIs

Abstract

Objective STIs are the most common infections among adults. Concurrently, pubic hair grooming is prevalent. Small-scale studies have demonstrated a relationship between pubic hair grooming and STIs. We aim to examine this relationship in a large sample of men and women.

Design We conducted a probability survey of US residents aged 18–65 years. The survey ascertained self-reported pubic hair grooming practices, sexual behaviours and STI history. We defined extreme grooming as removal of all pubic hair more than 11 times per year and high-frequency grooming as daily/weekly trimming. Cutaneous STIs included herpes, human papillomavirus, syphilis and molluscum. Secretory STIs included gonorrhoea, chlamydia and HIV. We analysed lice separately.

Results Of 7580 respondents who completed the survey, 74% reported grooming their pubic hair, 66% of men and 84% of women. After adjusting for age and lifetime sexual partners, ever having groomed was positively associated with a history of self-reported STIs (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.4 to 2.2), including cutaneous STIs (OR 2.6; CI 1.8 to 3.7), secretory STIs (OR 1.7; CI 1.3 to 2.2) and lice (OR 1.9; CI 1.3 to 2.9). These positive associations were stronger for extreme groomers (OR 4.4; CI 2.9 to 6.8) and high-frequency groomers (OR 3.5; CI 2.3 to 5.4) with cutaneous STIs, and for non-extreme groomers (OR 2.0; CI 1.3 to 3.0) and low-frequency groomers (OR 2.0; CI 1.3 to 3.1) with lice.

Conclusions Among a representative sample of US residents, pubic hair grooming was positively related to self-reported STI history. Further research is warranted to gain insight into STI risk-reduction strategies.

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Syphilis, Gonorrhea Cases Show Sharp Increase In England Following STI Budget Cuts

Tech Times, 6 July 2016, 11:39 am EDT

Cases of syphilis and gonorrhea in the United Kingdom soared following budget cuts on sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing.

Public Health England (PHE) has revealed that in 2015, there were 434,456 cases of STIs reported. Gonorrhea was diagnosed in 41,1932 people, which is a 10 percent spike compared to figures in 2014. On the other hand, syphilis diagnoses reached a total of 5,288 cases, which represents a 76 percent surge since 2012.

  • Read more here
  • Read the PHE report (PDF, 27 pages) here

Know your chances of contracting an STI

British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Canada

A common question people have is “What are my chances of getting an STI?”  While there is no simple answer, the charts below give an estimate of your chances, when your partner has that sexually transmitted infection (STI). These charts are based on research where possible, and have been reviewed by STI experts in British Columbia. 

These charts don’t cover every situation or every STI.

For example, for HIV the charts do not address the fact that risk of transmission is even lower if your partner is on treatment for HIV and has undetectable viral load.

Here’s what the different chances mean in the charts:

  • Not passed (or possible only in theory): There is no possibility for passing the infection or it is theoretically possible, but there is no evidence that this happens.
  • Not commonly passed: This is not a common way to pass the infection but it may be possible with the right conditions (e.g., if condom breaks).
  • Can be passed:  The infection can be passed this way with the right conditions (for example, from skin which is not covered by a condom or barrier).
  • Easily passed: The infection is easily passed this way.

Links to charts:

The all-in-one solution to sexual health is on its way

The Conversation, December 3, 2015 3.32pm AEDT

Enabling women to maintain good reproductive health requires innovative and improved prevention technologies. A revolutionary class of women’s sexual and reproductive health prevention products is being developed and may prove to be the linchpin to achieve the sustainable development goals that relate to women’s health.

Multipurpose Prevention Technologies, more commonly known as MPTs, are a new class of product in development. They deliver varying method combinations to simultaneously prevent HIV, sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.

Read more here