Objectives: The effects of posttest counseling on acquisition of sexually transmitted diseases in patients at a large urban sexually transmitted disease clinic were studied.
Methods: Comparisons were made of the percentage of patients who had a positive gonorrhea culture (or any sexually transmitted disease) in the 6 months before and after human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counseling and testing.
Results: For 331 patients counseled about a positive HIV test, the percentage with gonorrhea was 6.3 before and 4.5 after posttest counseling (29% decrease). For 666 patients counseled about a negative test, the percentage with gonorrhea was 2.4 before and 5.0 after posttest counseling (106% increase). With any sexually transmitted disease as the outcome, patients who tested positive for HIV had a 12% decrease and patients who tested negative had a 103% increase after counseling.
Conclusions: HIV counseling and testing was associated with a moderate decrease in sexually transmitted diseases among patients who tested positive for the virus, but risk increased for patients who tested negative. This suggests a need to improve posttest counseling in this clinic and to assess the effects of counseling and testing in other clinics.