The ban on out gay soldiers in the US military may contribute to the spread of sexually-transmitted disease, a doctor has claimed.

Dr Kenneth Katz, an STD specialist in San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency, said that soldiers could not be honest with medical staff about their sexual histories.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, he said: “The consequences of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell are clear. Infections go undiagnosed. Service members and their partners go untreated.”

Reuters reports that Dr Katz said he had treated one young gay soldier for rectal gonorrhea. He said that the young man could not go to a military doctor for treatment because it was obvious how he acquired the infection and if he had, he would have been unable to access the special care and counselling he needed.

In another example, Dr Katz cited the case of gay soldier who was treated for an STD at a military medical centre. The man was told to give the names and contact details of all of his sexual partners so they could also be offered treatment but had to supply the name of a platonic female friend instead.

He concluded: “The policy leads to wild goose chases that squander public health resources.”