Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention

RAP Time

(Volume 2, No. 5, May 1, 1998)

Issue Contents

Male's Relationship With Female Sex Partner Affects His STD Prevention Behavior

Comparatively little is known about how U.S. adult mens' relationship with their female sex partner influences their decision to engage in STD prevention behavior or to use contraception. Data from the National Survey of Men (NSM) indicated men's relationship attitudes and characteristics were important predictors of their efforts to protect against STDs and to prevent pregnancy.

Description of the Sample
Nearly 1600 men with female partners, ages 20-40, were telephone interviewed in 1991 and 1993 as part of the NSM. The majority of the respondents were aged 30-40, white, college-educated, and Protestant. Seventy percent were married, 10 percent were cohabitating, and 20 percent were in dating relationships.

Outcomes of the Study
Findings were determined after controlling for female partner attitudes and characteristics. At the 1993 interview, about 22 percent had done something to protect themselves from an STD in the past four weeks. Seven teen percent has used condoms and 5 percent had taken other actions (sexual monogamy, partner douching and use of spermicides). The proportion who specified condom use ranged from 64 percent among the married men to 85 percent of the cohabitating men and to 95 percent of the dating men.

Major attitude and characteristic findings include:

  • Men who were most concerned about how their partner felt about a method and its health and pregnancy risk were four times more likely to protect themselves against STDs.
  • Men who felt that women should be responsible for birth control were less likely to protect themselves against STDs.
  • Men participating in specified risky health behaviors (i.e., cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, driving over speed limit, not wearing seat belt) were less likely to protect themselves against STDs.
  • Men reporting a greater number of recent sex partners were more likely to protect themselves against STDs.
  • Recent STD prevention behaviors decreased with age and were more common among black men than white men. Use of contraceptives to prevent STDs and pregnancy increased with education.
  • Men who were in dating relationships were the most likely to protect themselves against STDs. However, recent efforts to prevent STDs declined with the increasing length of recent relationships.
  • Men reporting that ease of prevention method use was not important were three times more likely to protect themselves from STDs.

Implications for Prevention
STD prevention education should address relationship issues and include men, particularly those having more traditional gender roles, who are white, who engage in risky health behaviors and who are dating.

SOURCE: Forste, R., & Morgan, J. (1998). How relationships of U.S. men affect contraceptive use and efforts to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Family Planning Perspectives, 30, 56-62.

Study Reveals Predictors of HIV Risk for young Gay Men

A study of young gay men who have sex with men (YMSM) shows that factors predict being HIV positive and frequency of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI). The sample was 800 YMSM, ages 17-25, who frequented gay-identified venues in four California cities.

Nine percent tested positive for HIV, with HIV being higher among blacks, men 23-25 years old, men reporting a history of STDs, and men not enrolled in school.

Thirty-six percent reported UAI, with UAI being higher among men reporting sex mostly/always with other men, living with a partner/lover, and reporting at least one partner who had exchanged money or goods for sex. Men reporting a history of rimming, a higher number of lifetime and recent male partners, or recent use of drugs during sex were also more likely to report UAI.

SOURCE: Ruiz, J., Facer, M., & Sun, R. K. (1998). Risk factors for human immunodeficiency virus infection and unprotected anal intercourse among young men who have sex with men. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 25, 100-107.

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Persons at Risk for HIV/STD Unlikely to Use Female Condoms

A study of 196 women and 217 men who attended STD clinics showed that less than 3 percent had used the female condom. Seventy-seven percent had heard about the female condom, but less than 6 percent knew someone who had tried one.

Awareness of the female condom was higher among women than men, higher in adolescents than adults, and higher in whites than other ethnic groups. Of those who had heard of the female condom, but not tried using one, multiple reasons for not using the female condom were given.

ineteen percent of the women and 15 of the men reported they did not know where to get the female condom. Thirteen percent of the women and 14 percent of the men reported they did not know anything about the female condom. Only 7 percent of the women reported the female condom was too expensive and only 3 percent reported their "partner would not like it."

SOURCE: McGill, W. et al. (1998). Awareness of and experience with the female condom among patients attending STD clinics. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 25, 222-223.

CDC HIV Surveillance Report Urges Attention to Youth/Minorities

Surveillance in 25 states shows that HIV infection rates are not decreasing. In these states, about 140,000 persons are HIV infected, but do not have AIDS. Among those with HIV, 14 percent were ages 13-24. The report urged HIV prevention for adolescents, young women, and men who have sex with men.

SOURCE: CDC. (1998). Diagnoses and reporting of HIV and AIDS in States with integrated HIV and AIDS surveillance--United States, January 1994-June 1997. MMWR, 47, 309.

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Vasectomy Does Not Reduce HIV in Semen

Males who are HIV positive and have had a vasectomy are not less infectious than HIV positive males who have not had a vasectomy. Sources of HIV in semen are probably located beyond the vas deferens; e.g. prostate, seminal vesicles.

SOURCE: Krieger, J. N. ET AL. (1998). Vasectomy and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in semen. Journal of Urology, 159, 820-826.