Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division

HIV is a risk factor for Syphilis reinfection in men who have sex with men

From 2000 to 2006, the number of syphilis cases in the U.S. increased by 50% from an all-time low of 2.1 cases per 100,000 to 3.3 cases per 100,000. Since the majority of these cases occurred in men who have sex with men (MSM), VIDI senior fellow Dr. Warren Phipps and colleagues wanted to identify risk factors that could be used in designing syphilis prevention strategies in MSM populations.  To accomplish this objective, they studied the rate of MSM who experienced a repeated syphilis infection in San Francisco between 2001 to 2003 and found that HIV-1 infection increased the risk of repeat syphilis infection by almost 5-fold.   Therefore, future syphilis screening and risk reduction strategies may benefit by specifically targeting HIV-infected MSM.

Risk factors for repeat syphilis in men who have sex with men, San Francisco.  Phipps W et al.  Sex Transm Dis. 2009 Jun:331-5.

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