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Goals: To describe the interrelationships of douching, sex during menses, dry sex, and anal intercourse and their associations with self-reported history of sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

Study Design: The authors interviewed by telephone 422 white Americans (WA) and 44 African Americans (AA) selected using random-digit dialing, and 135 AA selected from a listed sample of census tracks having a population of at least 40% AA.

Results: After adjusting for lifetime numbers of vaginal sex partners, sex during menses was associated with self-reported history of chlamydial infection among women (WA: odds ratio [OR]= 3.9; confidence interval [CI]: 1.1, 14.0; AA: OR = 1.6; CI: 0.6, 4.2). Anal sex was associated with self-reported history of genital warts, genital herpes, hepatitis, and gonorrhea; douching with a twofold increase in self-reported pelvic inflammatory disease. Anal sex was most common in women with a history of same- and opposite-sex partners.

Conclusions: These data confirm the association of douching and anal sex with various STD and suggest that sex during menses is associated with chlamydial infection.

(C) Copyright 1998 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association