A case-control study of beliefs and behaviors associated with sexually transmitted disease occurrence in Estonia

Sex Transm Dis. 2001 Nov;28(11):624-9. doi: 10.1097/00007435-200111000-00003.


Background: Epidemiologic data document rapidly increasing sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates throughout Eastern Europe.

Goal: This case-control study was designed to delineate factors contributing to the STD epidemic in Estonia.

Study design: For this study, 189 study participants and 112 control subjects completed a behavioral questionnaire and underwent testing for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Treponema pallidum.

Results: The prevalence of STDs among the control subjects was 32%. Although the participants believed that condoms prevent STDs, only 17% reported consistent use. Methods believed to prevent transmission included washing the genitals (65%), urinating (26%), douching (35%), and using oral contraceptives (19%). An interaction between sex and travel outside Estonia (odds ratio, 0.1; 95% CI, 0-0.7) reflects the fact that males with STDs were more likely to report travel (46% of participants and 45.5% of control subjects with STD) than were those without STD (16.1% of controls without STD).

Conclusions: STD rates are related to high-risk sexual behavior among males traveling outside of Estonia. Intervention is needed to promote understanding of disease transmission dynamics in this area, and to decrease sexual risk behavior, particularly in the context of travel.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Estonia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires