ADHD ups risk of sexually transmitted infections in adolescents, young adults
Young adults and adolescents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have elevated risks of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) later in life, a recent study reveals. On the other hand, medication of ADHD reduces this risk.
Researchers performed Cox regression analyses to evaluate the risk of STIs in 17,898 adolescents and young adults with ADHD and in 71,592 age- and sex-matched controls. The average age of all participants was 14.88±3.33 years, and there was a male predominance (80.4 percent).
The incidence of any STI, such as HIV, gonorrhoea, genital warts, chlamydial infection, and syphilis, was significantly higher in participants with ADHD than in controls (1.2 vs 0.4 percent; p<0.001). Similarly, the age of developing any STI was significantly earlier in the ADHD than in the control group (20.51±4.48 vs 21.90±4.49 years; p<0.001).
Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that the subsequent risk of developing any STI was significantly associated with the presence of ADHD (p<0.001).
Cox regression analysis, adjusted for potential confounders such as medications and demographic data, showed that STIs later in life were much more likely in young adults (hazard ratio [HR], 3.57; 95 percent CI, 2.30–5.54), adolescents (HR, 3.27; 2.51–4.25), males (HR, 3.81; 2.88–5.04), and females (HR, 2.71; 1.85–3.96) with ADHD.
Notably, the use of ADHD medication, both in short-term (HR, 0.70; 0.53–0.94) and long-term (HR, 0.59; 0.37–0.93) bases, was correlated with significantly reduced risk of any STI in participants with ADHD. However, upon further analysis, the protective effect of medication was observed only in males.