Epidemiology of Sexually Transmitted Infections in Visitors for the London 2012 Olympic Games: A Review of Attendees at Sexual Health Services

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Mass gatherings and large sporting events, such as the Olympics, may potentially pose a risk of increased sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmission and increase burden on local STI services. The objectives of this analysis were to assess whether the STI profile of Olympic visitors differed from that of the local STI clinic population and to investigate what impact these visitors had on local STI services.


Self-administered questionnaires (completed by 29,292 patients) were used to determine the visitor status of patients attending 20 STI clinics, between July 20, 2012, and September 16, 2012, in the host cities, London and Weymouth. Using routine surveillance data from the Genitourinary Medicine Clinic Activity Dataset version 2, Olympic visitors were compared with usual attendees (local residents and non-Olympic visitors) in terms of their demographic characteristics, services utilized, and STIs diagnosed using univariate and multivariate methods.


Compared with usual attendees, Olympic visitors were more likely to be heterosexual males (56.0% vs. 34.9%, P = 0.001), aged between 15 and 24 years of age (47.1% vs. 34.0%, P = 0.001), of white ethnicity (81.9% vs. 66.4%, P = 0.001), and born in Australasia, Asia, North America, or South America (18.8% vs. 12.0%, P = 0.006). Olympic visitors constituted 1% of new clinic attendances and were less likely to be diagnosed as having a new STI (adjusted odds ratio, 0.69; 95% confidence interval, 0.48–0.98; P = 0.040).


In this first multisite study to examine the effect of Olympic visitors on local sexual health services, the 2012 Olympic Games was found to have minimal impact. This suggests that a “business as usual” approach would have been sufficient.

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