Sex in Australia: Sexually transmissible infection and blood-borne virus history in a representative sample of adults
Article first published online: 25 SEP 2007
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 27, Issue 2, pages 234–241, April 2003
How to Cite
Grulich, A. E., de Visser, R. O., Smith, A. M.A., Risse, C. E. and Richters, J. (2003), Sex in Australia: Sexually transmissible infection and blood-borne virus history in a representative sample of adults. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 27: 234–241. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842X.2003.tb00814.x
- Issue published online: 25 SEP 2007
- Article first published online: 25 SEP 2007
Objective To describe the lifetime and recent history of STIs and BBV, including place of seeking treatment, in a representative sample of Australian adults.
MethodsComputer-assisted telephone interviews were completed by a representative sample of 10,173 men and 9,134 women aged 16–59 years from all States and Territories. The overall response rate was 73.1% (69.4% among men and 77.6% among women).
Results: Overall, 20.2% of men and 16.9% of women had ever been diagnosed with an STI or BBV, and 2.0% and 2.2% respectively had been diagnosed in the past year. The participant's usual general practitioner was the most common location of treatment. Sexual health clinics accounted for a small proportion of treatment locations. Predictors of recent STI or BBV diagnosis in men included homosexual or bisexual identity, a history of sex work as a worker or client, a history of injecting drugs and having more than one partner in the past year. In women, predictors included bisexual identity, history of sex work as a worker, injecting drug use, and having more than one partner in the past year. Around 40% of men and women had been tested for HIV and in homosexually identified men, 77% had been tested.
Conclusion STIs and BBVs are common infections in Australia and care is mostly received from general practitioners. Although a variety of predictors, including homosexual or bisexual identity, injecting drug use and sex work were related to STI diagnosis, STIs were not uncommon among people without these risk factors.
Implications: General practitioners in Australia require a high level of expertise to recognise, offer testing, and manage common STIs and BBVs.