Men who have sex with men (MSM) who are living with HIV are not testing for syphilis frequently enough given the relatively high rate of acquisition of the sexually transmitted infection (STI) among MSM, Healio reports.
According to a 2017 study, 60 percent of U.S. syphilis cases were among MSM in 2015. This demographic had a syphilis diagnosis rate 106 times greater than that seen in men who have sex with women only.
National guidelines recommend that sexually active MSM, including those living with HIV, receive annual syphilis testing; those at elevated risk should receive testing every three to six months.
Publishing their findings in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers in the new study on syphilis testing rates among HIV-positive MSM analyzed medical records and interview data on members of this demographic who were participants of the Medical Monitoring Project, a population-based HIV surveillance system.
During 2013 to 2014, 71 percent of sexually active HIV-positive MSM received syphilis testing during the previous 12 months. Seventy-five percent of those at higher risk were tested, as were 77 percent of those with at least two sex partners during the previous 12 months.
Among those reporting condomless sex, 49 percent were tested during the previous six months and 26 percent were tested during the previous three months. Among MSM reporting at least two sex partners, 49percent were tested during the previous six months and 26 percent were tested during the previous three months.
“Nearly one third of sexually active HIV-positive MSM were not tested annually, and many at increased risk were not tested at recommended frequencies,” the study authors concluded. “Efforts to improve compliance with screening guidelines for high-risk HIV-positive MSM are warranted.”
To read the Healio article, click here.
To read the study abstract, click here.