Sexually transmitted diseases, antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, and subsequent development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Visitors of homosexual sauna clubs in Copenhagen: 1982-1983

Sex Transm Dis. Jan-Mar 1988;15(1):1-4. doi: 10.1097/00007435-198801000-00001.


Sera from 260 men from Denmark and elsewhere attending two Copenhagen sauna clubs for homosexual men during nine months of 1982-1983 were investigated for markers for syphilis, hepatitis A and B, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Five per cent (12 men) had active syphilis, and another 35% (92) had a history of and/or serologic markers for syphilis. Ninety-four men (36%) were positive for antibodies to hepatitis A virus, ten (4%) were positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), and 153 (59%) were positive for antibodies to HBsAg. Antibodies to HIV were found in 45 (20%) of the 220 men investigated for this marker. Markers for hepatitis A and B and for syphilis were more frequent in the HIV antibody-positive individuals, but the association was significant only for markers for hepatitis B (relative risk = 2.0). Thus STD markers had little predictive value for seropositivity for antibodies to HIV. Among 37 men investigated more than once, a seroconversion rate of 3% per month for antibodies to HIV was found, but this estimate must be taken with reservation. The rate of seropositivity for antibodies to HIV among men from Denmark was 23%, and three (8%) of the 40 HIV-positive Danish men developed the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) during the four years following the initial investigation. This study shows that by 1982-1983 HIV had spread considerably in the Danish high-risk group, although there were only seven reported cases of AIDS in the country at that time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Denmark
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis A / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis A / immunology
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Homosexuality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / immunology
  • Steam Bath*
  • Syphilis / epidemiology
  • Syphilis / immunology


  • Antibodies, Viral