Background and objectives: Information regarding risk factors for STD transmission is needed to assist in designing and evaluating prevention and control programs for US military populations.
Goal of this study: To obtain STD risk factor data among deployed U.S. military personnel.
Study design: A questionnaire survey was administered to military personnel deployed aboard ship for six months to South America, West Africa, and the Mediterranean during 1989-1991.
Results: Among 1,744 male subjects (mean age, 23 years; 71% white; 96% enlisted), 49% reported prior sexual contact with a prostitute and 22% reported a history of a STD before deployment. During the subsequent six-month deployment, 42% reported sexual contact with a prostitute, 10% reported inconsistent use of condoms, and 10% acquired a new STD. By logistic regression analysis, sexual contact with a prostitute during deployment was independently associated with young age, nonwhite race/ethnicity, and being unmarried or divorced; inconsistent use of condoms was associated with Hispanic race/ethnicity.
Conclusion: These data indicate that deployed U.S. military personnel frequently engage in high-risk sexual behavior and that there is a continued need for comprehensive and culturally-sensitive STD prevention programs.