HIV surveillance among sexually transmitted disease clinic attenders in Amsterdam, 1991-1996

AIDS. 1998 May 28;12(8):931-8. doi: 10.1097/00002030-199808000-00016.


Objective: To determine trends in HIV prevalence among attenders of a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases (STD), with emphasis on heterosexuals who did not have a history of injecting drug use.

Methods: Anonymous unlinked HIV surveys with individual consent, conducted each half year from 1991 to 1996 (except 1993) among STD clinic attenders who came for evaluation of a possible new STD episode.

Results: Of 10,940 eligible attenders 10,046 (92%) accepted HIV testing. Of all tested attenders, 312 (3.1%) were HIV-infected. Overall HIV prevalence decreased significantly from 4.6% in 1991 to 2.8% in 1996. HIV prevalence among heterosexual men and women who were not injecting drug users was less than 1% in all but one survey period. Except for one woman, none of the 48 HIV-infected heterosexuals was aware of their current serostatus. Among HIV-infected heterosexuals, 21 out of 28 males (75%) and 18 out of 20 females (90%) were of non-Dutch origin. HIV prevalence was 16% among all homosexual men, and 12% among young homosexual men aged < 30 years. HIV prevalence among young homosexual men decreased significantly over time. Among HIV-infected homosexual men, 58% of older men and 59% of younger men were not aware of their current HIV infection. Rates of current STD were generally significantly higher among HIV-infected participants compared with non-HIV-infected participants.

Conclusions: Although HIV prevalence among heterosexual clinic attenders is low, there is a clear potential for ongoing sexual HIV transmission. Most heterosexually acquired HIV infections are found in non-Dutch persons. This observation suggests migration of HIV-infected heterosexuals or the separation of Dutch and non-Dutch heterosexual networks. Awareness of serostatus is almost non-existent among HIV-infected heterosexuals, and is low among male homosexual clinic attenders. To increase awareness of current HIV serostatus and possibly decrease risk behaviour, HIV counselling and testing should be offered actively to all clinic attenders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Female
  • HIV Antibodies / blood
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology
  • HIV Seroprevalence*
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / complications
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications


  • HIV Antibodies