Risk Factor Reversal in Studies of Infectious Disease: Making Counterintuitive Results Intuitive Again

Sex Transm Dis. 2019 Jan;46(1):e5-e7. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000911.


A previously published study reported the seemingly paradoxical finding that men who have sex with men status was strongly protective and recent sexual abstinence strongly deleterious in relation to mortality prognosis. We explain why these results are entirely logical and that the counterintuitive direction of the effects derives from the comparison group implied by the study design.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Cannabis*
  • HIV Infections*
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*