Men with Rectal STI at Higher Risk for HIV

HIV - STIAccording to new research conducted in New York City and published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases shows that men with a rectal STI (sexually transmitted infection) have a higher chance of contracting HIV.

According to an article from NAM aidsmap, the authors compared HIV incidence in both people diagnosed with rectal chlamydia (CT) and/or gonorrhea (GC) infection at a baseline clinic visit between 2008 and 2010 and closely matched controls who were negative for these infections at their baseline visit. Over two-thirds of both the diagnosed people and the controls reported unprotected anal sex. During follow-up, 7% of men with rectal STIs at the initial clinic visit were diagnosed with HIV, compared to 3% of men without these infections at baseline.

One of the authors stated –

“Our results demonstrate that rectal CT/GC infections are objective markers for identifying persons at an exceptionally high risk for HIV.”

Unprotected anal intercourse is a well-known risk factor for HIV infection for gay men. The presence of a rectal STI can be considered a marker of high-risk sexual behavior. Investigators wished to see if recent diagnosis with a rectal chlamydia and/or gonorrhea was associated with an increased risk of subsequent HIV infection.

Their study population consisted of 276 gay men who were screened for HIV and STIs at the same clinic visit between 2008 and 2010. The men tested HIV negative but all were diagnosed with a rectal STI (chlamydia, n= 177; gonorrhea, n = 69; both, n = 30). Over two-thirds (69%) reported no or inconsistent condom use and a median of four partners in the previous three months. Most of the rectal infections (70%) were asymptomatic, “underscoring the need for routine rectal screening of patients who report unprotected anal intercourse”.

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