Cohort study of venereal disease. I: the risk of gonorrhea transmission from infected women to men

Am J Epidemiol. 1978 Aug;108(2):136-44. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a112597.


Reliable data on the risk of transmission of N. gonorrhoeae would enhance our understanding of the importance of host defenses against gonorrhea and would aid in the evaluation of prophylactic measures. This paper examines the risk of transmission of gonorrhea from infected female to male and the role that variables such as race, prophylaxis and amount of exposure play in the development of gonococcal urethritis. Volunteer crew members of a large naval vessel were followed prospectively as a cohort to study their risk of acquiring gonococcal infection during a four-day liberty period in the Far East. At the same time the prevalence of N. gonorrhoeae was determined in a population of females to whom the sailors were exposed. The calculated risk of transmission per exposure with an infected partner was .19 for whites and .53 for blacks. A statistically significant relationship was noted between the risk of transmission of gonorrhea and both the number of partners and the frequency of sexual intercourse. Further, the increasing infection rate with increasing numbers of exposures in men who had a single sex partner suggests that the majority of men are in fact susceptible to gonorrhea if the quantity of exposure is sufficient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / prevention & control
  • Gonorrhea / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Medicine*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • United States
  • White People