Women three times more likely to catch sexually transmitted diseases

March 30th, 2009 - 2:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, March 30 (IANS) Women below 21 are three times more likely to catch sexually transmitted diseases (STD) than men of the same age, according to a new study.
The study, based on an examination of 1,000 people, shows that women have a greater incidence of STD diagnoses by age 21 than between ages 21 and 32, said co-author Charlotte Paul, a professor at Otago University’s department of preventive and social medicine.

“By contrast for men, diagnosis rates were higher between ages 21 to 26 than when younger. Direct comparisons showed that the rate of new diagnoses was nearly three times higher for women than for men up to age 21.”

Behavioural risks for STD were also investigated. By the time they were 21, about eight out of 10 of both women and men had more than one sexual partner.

“We found that multiple partners were also common for both sexes between ages 21 to 26, and were reported by seven out of 10 women and eight out of 10 men.

“Between ages 26 and 32, half the women and three out of four men continued to have multiple partners,” said Paul.

Condom use ‘always’ or ‘usually’ was reported by more than half of both women and men up to age 21 and by about 20 to 40 percent in the later age groups.

There was, in general, a strong relationship between increasing number of sexual partners and sexually transmitted infections, most marked in women below 21, according to an Otago release.

Paul said one surprising finding was that women aged 26 to 32 who reported 10 or more partners over that time had low rates of sexually transmitted infections, especially chlamydia.

“We speculate that these women may have developed immunity to chlamydial infection through previous infections,” she said.

There is evidence that immunity to chlamydial infection can develop, though it may be accompanied by the adverse effects of infection such as scarring and infertility,” she added.

These findings were published recently in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

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