Lubricant use and rectal chlamydial and gonococcal infections among men who engage in receptive anal intercourse

Courtney Maierhofer, Cara E. Rice, Shu Hua Wang, Karen S. Fields, Melissa Ervin, Abigail Norris Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Background: Use of lubricants during anal intercourse is very common among men who have sex with men. However, few studies have evaluated associations between specific lubricants and rectal sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Methods: Between July 2012 and October 2013, we conducted a crosssectional study of men who have sex with men recruited from an urban, public sexual health clinic. In a self-administered survey, participants identified the lubricants used and frequency of lubricant use in the previous three months. Among men reporting any receptive anal intercourse (RAI) in the previous 3 months, we used multivariable binomial regression models to analyze associations between recent use of 9 specific lubricants and prevalent rectal chlamydia, rectal gonorrhea, and either rectal infection. Results: Twenty-five percent of the 146 participants had rectal chlamydial infection and 21% had rectal gonococcal infection; 37% had either (chlamydial or gonococcal) infection. Three-quarters reported always or almost always using lubricant during recent receptive anal intercourse. After adjustment for age, race, human immunodeficiency virus status, and condom use, Gun Oil (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR], 1.99; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-3.80) and Slick (aPR, 3.55; 95% CI, 1.38-9.12) were significantly associated with prevalent gonococcal infection. No lubricants were significantly associated with prevalent rectal chlamydia, but in analyses of either rectal infection, precum (aPR, 1.68; 95%CI, 1.06-2.66),Vaseline (aPR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.10-2.64), and baby oil (aPR, 2.26; 95% CI, 1.43-3.57) were all significantly associated with prevalent rectal infection. Conclusions: Several lubricants were significantly associated with increased prevalence of rectal STI. Longitudinal studies are needed to examine any causal relationship between specific lubricants and STI acquisition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-428
Number of pages6
JournalSexually transmitted diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 21 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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