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The gay report on sexually transmitted diseases


  • Darrow, W.W.
  • Barrett, D.
  • Jay, K.
  • Young, A.


Most studies of sexually transmitted diseases in homosexual men have examined prevalence in clinic populations; for comparative purposes, we analyzed data from a survey of 4,329 gay men conducted in 1977. Among 4,212 respondents to the self-administered questionnaire, 66.8 per cent reported previous infection with pediculosis; 38.4 per cent, gonorrhea; 24.1 per cent, nonspecific urethritis; 18.1 per cent, venereal warts; 13.5 per cent, syphilis; 9.7 per cent, hepatitis; and 9.4 per cent, herpes. Number of different lifetime sexual partners best predicted histories of syphilis (r = .249), gonorrhea (r = .402), and the other diseases; frequency of checkups, years as a practicing homosexual, and furtive sexual activities were among the many other significant correlates of venereal infections. Respondents most often sought examinations from private physicians (39.4 per cent); those who visited gay clinics were examined most often and felt most positive about their medical care. Gay men who participated in the survey reported frequent infections with many of the same sexually transmitted diseases often seen in private medical practices, public VD clinics, and gay health centers. Since high rates of disease are related to large numbers of different partners, frequent exposures with anonymous contacts, and anal intercourse, we recommend frequent examinations for those whose life-styles include these characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Darrow, W.W. & Barrett, D. & Jay, K. & Young, A., 1981. "The gay report on sexually transmitted diseases," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 71(9), pages 1004-1011.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.71.9.1004_7
    DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.71.9.1004

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