MSM are 106 times more likely to get syphilis than men who exclusively have sex with women
A new study of syphilis transmission rates reveals men who have sex with men account for 81.7% of cases in the United States.
This study found gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men are 106 times more likely to get the sexually transmitted disease.
Researchers analyzed data collected in 2015 and compiled the first of its kind state-by-state report on syphilis rates.
The study found gay and bisexual men living in the South had the highest rates of the disease, such as North Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana.
North Carolina, for example, had 748 cases per 100,000 gay and bisexual men.
Alaska had the fewest cases, with only 73 cases per 100,000 gay and bisexual men.
Fred Wyand, spokesman for the American Sexual Health Association urged people to look at the broader picture.
Wyand said: ‘Better access to healthcare, more welcoming attitudes, better support systems are all important, of course,’ WebMD reports.
‘We need to understand there are challenges faced by many gay and bisexual men greater than what most folks endure,’ Wyand concluded.
For a full list of State-specific cases of syphilis, check out the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Why do men who have sex with men report higher numbers of syphilis?
A further breakdown highlights men who have sex with men accounts for 309 cases per 100,000.
This is in contrast to men who only have sex with women accounting for 2.9 cases per 100,000.
And women with 1.8 cases per 100,000.
Dr Robert Grant, chief medical officer of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation explains why this might be the case.
Grant told CBS News: ‘Now that we have effective therapies for HIV, people who were previously untested and tested infrequently are now getting tested.
‘Sexually transmitted infections tend to go together.
If they come in and ask for HIV testing, we test for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea as well.
‘People have everything to gain and nothing to lose by getting an HIV and syphilis test.
‘This report will help reinvigorate people’s awareness and hopefully send the message that by getting a test and following through with treatment, we can decrease or even eliminate syphilis as a problem,’ Grant said.
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