The rate of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men is more than 44 times that of other men and more than 40 times that of women, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), presented at the 2010 National STD Prevention Conference in Atlanta.

In addition, the rate of primary and secondary syphilis among MSM is more than 46 times that of other men and more than 71 times that of women.

Research shows that risk factors contributing to high rates of HIV and syphilis among MSM include high prevalence of other sexually transmitted infections, which increase the risk of transmission; complacency surrounding HIV among young MSM; homophobia and stigma; inconsistent prevention strategies among MSM over the course of a lifetime; and a lack of awareness of syphilis symptoms and its treatment.

“There is no single or simple solution for reducing HIV and syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men,” said Kevin Fenton, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “We need intensified prevention efforts that are as diverse as the gay community itself. Solutions for young gay and bisexual men are especially critical, so that HIV does not inadvertently become a rite of passage for each new generation of gay men.”