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Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and  patient characteristics of older men over 60 years of age attending a public STD clinic in South Australia

Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and patient characteristics of older men over 60 years of age attending a public STD clinic in South Australia

Background: STI prevalence is changing. With society aging, life expectancy increasing and changes in sexual practices, STIs in senior citizens are of interest from economic, health related and social burden perspectives. Few studies on STIs in older men greater than 60 years of age exist, hence, a need to obtain further information about this subpopulation.

Method: A retrospective study of data over 13 years was performed looking at various characteristics of men over 60 years visiting Clinic 275. STI diagnoses of Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Non-Specific Urethritis (NSU) and Warts were evaluated. A comparison was made between the prevalence of STIs between older heterosexual and Men who have sex with Men (MSM). Further comparison was made between these men and their younger cohort (aged 18-59). Data analysis was performed using STATA (version11).

Results: During the study period, 752 men, 60 years and older, visited the clinic. At first presentation visit, there were significant differences in gonorrhea and chlamydia prevalence between heterosexuals and MSM (p <0.05). Differences in prevalence for syphilis, NSU and warts were insignificant. Compared with younger heterosexuals, heterosexual older men were less likely to have chlamydia and warts and more likely to have positive syphilis serology. There were insignificant differences in STI rates between younger and older MSM.  Older MSM were less likely to have previous HIV testing and were from less disadvantaged areas compared to younger MSM. Older heterosexual men were less likely to have more than one partner in previous 3 months compared to younger heterosexuals.

Conclusion: We believe this is the only study in South Australia addressing the epidemiology of STIs and characteristics of older men visiting a public STD clinic. STI rates in older MSM are similar to younger MSM but older MSM are less likely to be tested for HIV. There is need to improve HIV testing amongst older MSM.

Speakers: Dr. Carole Khaw

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