MRSA Infection High Among Homosexual Men
Special Report - January 25, 2008
A new study published in the January issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine warns that a drug-resistant and potentially deadly Staph infection is spreading rapidly among homosexual men in several major cities. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that men who have sex with men in the San Francisco and Boston areas are 13 times more likely than other groups in these cities to contract a specific strain of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), known as “USA300.”
According to the Annals of Internal Medicine study, USA300 is a newly identified clone of community-associated MRSA that is resistant to several different antibiotics. The study found that MRSA “has spread rapidly among men who have sex with men in San Francisco and Boston, and that having malemale sex seems to be a risk factor . . . independent of HIV infection.” According to the study, the spread of MSRA-USA300 among MSM was associated with high-risk sexual behaviors, such as multiple sexual partners, illegal drug use, participating in group sex parties, “skin-abrading” sex, and a history of sexually transmitted diseases. The authors of the study concluded, “The high proportion of infection involving the buttocks, genitals, and perineum suggests that community-associated MRSA may be transmitted in the setting of sexual contact among men who have sex with men.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes MRSA as a “common cause of skin infections . . . that occur in men, women, children and persons of all races and sexual orientations, and are known to be transmitted by close skin-to-skin contact.” (see 1st link below) According to the CDC, MRSA “can cause skin infections that may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage.” While the majority of MRSA infections occur in hospitals or other health care facilities, the CDC notes, “it is becoming more common in community settings.” Although the majority of MRSA infections are minor, serious forms can lead to pneumonia, blood stream infections and surgical wound infections. According to the CDC, nearly 95,000 people contracted MRSA and 18,650 people died from serious MRSA infections in 2005.
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