Gay Men at Greater Risk for MRSA

WASHINGTON (Excerpted from AFP) — Sexually active gay men are at much greater risk than heterosexuals of infection from a highly virulent bacteria that has proven resistant to most antibiotics, according to a new study.

The research by the University of California at San Francisco found that the highly-drug resistant "superbug" MRSA bacteria can be transmitted readily through homosexual intercourse, putting gay men at increased risk.

"These multi-drug resistant infections often affect gay men at body sites in which skin-to-skin contact occurs during sexual activities," says Binh Diep, of the San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the report appearing in the online edition the Annals of Internal Medicine.

A review of medical records from outpatient clinics in San Francisco found that sexually active gay men in San Francisco are about 13 times more likely to be infected than the general population. The MRSA bacteria appears to be transmitted most easily through intimate sexual contact, but also can spread through casual skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated surfaces.
Until recently, MRSA bacteria were confined to hospitals, where extensive use of antibiotics has prompted highly-resistant bacteria strains to evolve.nBut in recent months, scientists have observed a growing number of cases of the illness surfacing outside the hospital setting, causing a number of deaths and serious illnesses.