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September 25, 1991

Assessing Prior History of Sexually Transmitted Disease

Author Affiliations

SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn (NY)

SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn (NY)

JAMA. 1991;266(12):1646. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470120048018

To the Editor.  —Current estimates indicate that approximately 33% of women with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome contract the disease heterosexually.1 Women with a history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are generally assumed to be at an increased risk for infection with the human immunodeficiency virus. One strategy for preventing heterosexually acquired human immunodeficiency virus infection among women is to identify those with a current or past history of an STD and to provide safe-sex counseling. Identifying women with a history of an STD is generally dependent on self-reporting. This approach is in turn dependent on women knowing about the many different diseases that fall under the rubric of "STDs."To examine women's knowledge of STDs, we analyzed data from a large ongoing prospective study of risk-taking attitudes and sexual behaviors of women at high risk for STDs. Information on a history of STDs was acquired from a cohort of