Purpose: To identify predictors of subsequent infection among a sample of 15- to 19-year-old African-American males attending an urban sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic in the Midwest.
Methods: During a 14-month period, 562 youth participated in a brief STD prevention intervention designed to promote condom use. They completed self-administered questionnaires (baseline, posttest, 30-day and 6-month) on their sexual and condom use behavior in the past month. Infection data (baseline, 5 years before, and 12 months after baseline) were obtained from clinic and state surveillance records. Logistic regression was used to predict infection within 6 and 12 months of the baseline visit.
Results: Within 12 months of the baseline, 31.3% were treated for an infection, of whom 1.4% returned within 30 days, an additional 17.1% within 6 months, and the remaining 12.8% within the last 6 months. The 12-month rate was 1.6-1.7 times higher than the rates reported for older STD clinic attendees. Subsequent infection was positively associated with age at first intercourse, number of children fathered, infection prior to and at the index visit, exchange of sex for drugs in the past year, and perceived risk of infection within the year; it was negatively associated with frequency of condom use with one's steady partner.
Conclusions: Sexually transmitted disease clinic staff routinely obtain information from young African-American males that can be used to identify individuals who are most likely to become reinfected. Because repeaters account for a disproportionate number of infections, prevention efforts tailored to their needs would have a corresponding impact on STD rates.