Gay men who are diagnosed with a rectal sexually transmitted infection (STI) are much more likely to subsequently acquire HIV, aidsmap reports. Researchers in New York City compared new cases of HIV among 552 gay men who were initially HIV negative when they made a local clinic visit for HIV and STI screening between 2008 and 2010. They published their findings in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

At their initial clinic visit, 177 tested positive for rectal chlamydia, 69 for rectal gonorrhea and 30 for both. Sixty-nine percent of this group of 276 men reported not using condoms or using them inconsistently. The researchers matched them with 276 controls, among whom an identical percentage reported no or inconsistent condom use and who had tested negative for HIV at their initial clinic visit.

During 464 person-years of follow-up, 31 men (11 percent) with a rectal STI at the initial visit contracted HIV, for an annual incidence rate of 11 percent. During 474 person-years of follow-up in the control group, 12 men (4 percent) acquired HIV, for an annual incidence rate of 3 percent.

The researchers deduced that a rectal STI diagnosis increased the likelihood of an individual subsequently acquiring HIV by 2.58-fold.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.