Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing of Human Immunodeficiency Virus–Infected Men Who Have Sex With Men: Room for Improvement

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In the United States, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing is recommended at least annually for sexually active men who have sex with men (MSM). We evaluated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) providers’ STI testing practices and frequency of positive test results.


We analyzed data from HIV Outpatient Study (HOPS) participants who, from 2007 to 2014, completed a confidential survey about risk behaviors. Using medical records data, we assessed the frequency of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis testing and positive results during the year after the survey for MSM who reported sex without a condom in the prior 6 months. We compared testing frequency and positivity for men having 1, 2 to 3, and 4 or more sexual partners. Correlates of STI testing were assessed using general linear model to derive relative risks (RR) with associated 95% confidence intervals (CI).


Among 719 MSM, testing frequency was 74.5%, 74.3%, and 82.9% for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, respectively, and was higher in those men who reported more sexual partners (P < 0.001 for all). In multivariable analysis, testing for gonorrhea was significantly more likely among non-Hispanic black versus white men (RR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.03–1.33), among men seen in private versus public clinics (RR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.05–1.28), and among men with 2 to 3 and 4 or more sexual partners versus 1 partner (RR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.02–1.23, and RR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.08–1.30, respectively). Correlates of chlamydia and syphilis testing were similar. Test positivity was higher among men with more sexual partners: for gonorrhea 0.0%, 3.0%, and 6.7% for men with 1, 2 to 3, and 4 or more partners, respectively (P < 0.001, syphilis 3.7%, 3.8% and 12.5%, P < 0.001).


Among HIV-infected MSM patients in HIV care who reported sex without a condom, subsequent testing was not documented in clinic records during the following year for up to a quarter of patients. Exploring why STI testing did not occur may improve patient care.

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