Introduction: The aim of the study was to assess the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in immigrants in Denmark.
Material and methods: Analysis of surveillance data from 1.8.1990-31.5.2000 for HIV infection and from 1.1.1994-31.5.2000 for gonorrhoea and syphilis. National data on the population mainly per 1.1.1998 were used.
Results: Overall, 28% of the notified, newly diagnosed HIV-infected persons were foreigners, a proportion which was 18% for both cases with gonorrhoea and syphilis; 488 (64%) were from Africa, whereas 110 (14%) were from Europe. The estimated annual incidence of first-time diagnosed HIV infection was five times higher in immigrants than in native Danes (22.3 vs 4.1 per 10(5)), namely 161.8 per 10(5) in Africans and 5.6 per 10(5) in Europeans. Similar differences were found for gonorrhoea (6.87 vs 2.14 per 10(5)) and syphilis (1.66 vs 0.16 per 10(5)). In addition, the annual incidence of newly diagnosed HIV was three times higher in male and 16 times higher in female immigrants than in Danes. The incidence of both gonorrhoea and syphilis in Danes was five times higher in men than in women, which was also found for gonorrhoea in immigrants. In immigrants, no real difference in the incidence of HIV and syphilis was found between the two genders.
Conclusion: The incidence of diagnosed HIV infection, gonorrhoea, and syphilis in Denmark is generally low, but fairly high in certain groups of immigrants. Information, early diagnosis and treatment are central elements in the prevention of STIs and should be adapted for new sub-populations.