Sexually transmitted infections and sexual behaviors of men who have sex with men in an American Deep South PrEP clinic

Int J STD AIDS. 2020 Feb;31(2):127-135. doi: 10.1177/0956462419886228. Epub 2020 Jan 28.


HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) effectively prevents HIV acquisition among men who have sex with men (MSM), but PrEP uptake has been associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The effect of PrEP on STIs in MSM in the Deep South of the United States is unknown. We performed a retrospective analysis of adult MSM at an American Deep South PrEP clinic to calculate the prevalence and incidence rate of bacterial STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis) and identify associated risk factors by linking incident STI to patient-reported outcomes; 139 MSM accessed the clinic between 2014 and 2018 with baseline bacterial STI prevalence of 11%. Twenty-six of 81 eligible MSM on PrEP had incident STIs with an incidence rate of 33.1 cases per 100 person-years. Significantly higher proportions of high PrEP adherence, multiple sexual partners, and inconsistent condom use were seen in those with incident STI, and we identified MSM with both high PrEP adherence and multiple sexual partners as being at especially high risk for bacterial STIs (hazard ratio: 7.57, 95% confidence interval: 1.75–32.74). Bacterial STIs are common after initiating PrEP in this clinic, and MSM reporting high PrEP adherence and multiple sexual partners have a significant risk for incident STI. Highrisk sexual behaviors persisted after starting PrEP, highlighting the importance of ongoing, intensive sexual health screening and interventions.

Keywords: HIV prevention; Pre-exposure prophylaxis; condoms; health risk behaviors; medication adherence; sexually transmitted infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alabama / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Syphilis / epidemiology