1 in 8 US gay and bi men had a throat or rectum STD in recent testing

Man at a doctor's office

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MSM (men who have sex with men, including gay and bisexual men) in the United States are disproportionately at risk for and affected by STDs and HIV.

In a recent test in five US cities, researchers found that one in eight MSM had valid results for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea in the throat or rectum. The five cities were Houston, Miami, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Several authors, as well as the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Sexually Transmitted Infection Study Group, published the report this week.

The National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) swabbed thousands of MSM at community venues (bars, clubs, fitness centers, etc.) in the five cities.

2,075 of the participants had valid results, and 13.3% were infected with at least one of the pathogens tested.

The findings of the report also found that one-third of MSM had not screened for STDs in the past year. Further, the prevalence of gonorrhea was also higher among HIV positive MSM, which is supported by past research.

The authors of the report conducted the study based on the NHBS’ sampling in community venues because previous reports have been based on ‘clinic-based samples of patients’. As this previous data came from men specifically seeking medical care, the authors determined ‘reported estimates might not reflect prevalences among a broader population of MSM’.

Recommendations and limitations

In conclusion, the report’s authors discussed both limitations of the study, as well as recommendations based on the findings.

Some of the limitations included that only five cities made up the sample’s data.

‘Although the cities were geographically and sociodemographically diverse, extrapolation to all US cities is not appropriate,’ the report states. It also cannot extrapolate the data to the larger MSM population.

One more limitation is that the NHBS only took two samples for the tested STDs. More samples such as urine could have revealed more.

‘The asymptomatic nature of extragenital STDs and high prevalences found in this population further support the need for regular screening of all sexually active MSM at all anatomic sites of exposure,’ the authors recommend.

‘Improved access to culturally competent care and clinician adherence to screening guidelines for MSM are critical components in reducing the STD disparities that affect this population.’

See also

Undetectable HIV positive people in the US responsibile for zero new transmissions

Planned Parenthood introduces new programs for gay men and trans people

Should we be concerned some gay men are buying antibiotics online for STIs?

Author: Anya Crittenton

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‘Surprising’ research finds STIs among PrEP users not linked to condom use

Are men becoming less and less fearful of contracting HIV?

People on PrEP are at risk of acquiring STIs, but it is not because they’re using condoms less new research shows.

Researchers found a 20% increase in the rates of new STIs among people on a PrEP trial in the Australian state of Victoria called PrEPX. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a proven effective HIV preventative medication.

The study included 2,981 mainly gay and bisexual men. Researchers published their results in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

They found there was an increased risk of acquiring an STI while on PrEP compared to before starting PrEP. But they also found there was no link between that increase and the rate of condom use.

Researchers found it ‘surprising’ that ‘condom use was not a significant predictor of acquiring an STI when using PrEP’.

So, why more STIs?

The study found that an increase in casual sex partners and group sex lead to the STI diagnoses. But also like previous studies found that more regular testing explained the increase in STI diagnoses. But results of the study also showed that about 25% of participants accounted for a majority of the diagnoses and that group experienced high rates of STIs.

‘It’s important to understand that when people start taking PrEP, they also get tested more frequently, so STIs are more likely to be detected anyway,’ said lead author, Burnet PhD student Michael Traeger.

He argued the study results should help better guide STI prevention campaigns for people who take PrEP. Those campaigns should not just focus on condom use, but also reducing the time to STI diagnosis through frequent testing.

‘But as PrEP uptake increases, identifying individuals most at risk of STIs will become increasingly important for informing effective and focused STI prevention,’ Traeger said.

End the PrEP backlash

PrEP sceptics often cite the increase risk of STIs while to criticize the medical treatment.

Associate Professor Edwina Wright argued the findings ‘are a rebuttal to the backlash against PrEP users for reducing condom use’.

Wright is the principal investigator of the PrEPX Study, an infectious diseases physician and clinical researcher. She is also the co-head of the HIV Elimination Program at Burnet Institute.

‘The findings are also important because they highlight the need to target our sexual health messaging about STI risks to a relatively small proportion of PrEP users to help reduce their STI rates,’ she said.

‘We need to address these findings by engaging in more research to prevent STIs including STI vaccines and antibiotics that may prevent STIs.’


Author: Shannon Power

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Researchers to figure out why LGBTIs have poorer health than straight people


LGBT+ people have poorer health than the straight, cis population.

Sadly, we have been hearing this for many years. Lesbian women and gay men are at higher risk of death from any cause, LGBT people are at higher risk of certain cancers, and are also at increased risk of life-limiting illnesses.

It is reasonable to assume that health and social care services would always be open to improving the health and wellbeing of all their patients. However, what if sometimes those services that should be supporting unwell people make LGBT+ individuals feel the opposite: unsupported, unwelcome and, in the worst of cases, excluded.

Unfortunately, recent reports, from the likes of Stonewall, the Government Equalities Office and a research team at King’s College London.

Across these projects, many LGBT people reported fears or experiences of discrimination, negative remarks, lacking understanding and heteronormativity when accessing healthcare services.

National study

That is exactly why the research team at King’s College London have launched a national study. They are seeking to understand, and ultimately improve, the experiences that LGBT+ people living with or affected by serious illness have with their health and social care professionals. The ACCESSCare C team are also interested in hearing from significant others

Findings will be used to produce guidance and education materials for health and social care professionals, to improve communication around sexual orientation, gender history and

If you would like to express an interest in participating in a one-off interview for the ACCESSCare C project, or if you have any questions, please email debbie.braybrook@kcl.ac.uk or for more information visit https://www.kcl.ac.uk/cicelysaunders/research/living/access/accesscare-c. 

Author: Debbie Braybrook

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