STD’s at Unprecedented Highs Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

Oct 24, 2016 by


“STD’s at Unprecedented Highs Among Men Who Have Sex with Men”

From Donna Garner



Excerpts taken from today’s released report — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


“2015 STD Surveillance Report: Reported STDs at Unprecedented High in the U.S.”


In 2015, more cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis combined were reported than ever before, according to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report, 2015, released October 19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


The 2015 STD Surveillance Report points out that:

  • Young people aged 15 to 24 accounted for nearly two-thirds of chlamydia diagnoses and half of gonorrhea diagnoses in 2015.


  • Ninety percent of reported syphilis cases were in men; and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for a majority of these cases.


As partners in this effort, CDC has developed several resources to help you better understand the issues and share prevention messages in your community.


CDC’s 2015 STD Surveillance Report 
2015 STD Surveillance Report Media Materials and Fact Sheet 
Fact Sheets about STDs 



STDs also impose a substantial economic burden: CDC estimates STD cases cost the U.S. healthcare system nearly $16 billion each year…


Young people and gay and bisexual men continue to face the greatest risk of becoming infected with an STD, and there continue to be troubling increases in syphilis among newborns…


Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for the majority of new gonorrhea and P&S syphilis cases (82 percent of male cases with known gender of sex partner)…


Women still account for less than 10 percent of new P&S syphilis infections.


Among all cases reported in 2015, MSM accounted for 81.7% of all male P&S syphilis cases with known information about sex of sex partners (Figure 40).


In 31 states able to classify at least 70.0% of reported P&S syphilis cases as MSM, MSW, or women and at least 70.0% of reported cases as HIV-positive or HIV-negative, 49.8% of MSM with P&S syphilis were also reported to be HIV-positive (Figure 41).


Among MSM P&S cases, the proportion attributed to White MSM was 37.8% while the proportion of cases attributable to Black MSM was 33.0%, and 23.4% for Hispanic MSM… 


There were more than 1.5 million chlamydia cases reported (1,526,658), nearly 400,000 cases of gonorrhea (395,216), and nearly 24,000 cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis (23,872) – the most infectious stages of the disease. The largest increase in cases reported from 2014 to 2015 occurred in P&S syphilis (19 percent), followed by gonorrhea (12.8 percent) and chlamydia (5.9 percent).


Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are the three most commonly reported conditions in the nation and have reached a record high level.



Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (collectively referred to as MSM) are at increased risk for STDs, including antimicrobial resistant gonorrhea, when compared to women and exclusively heterosexual men.1–4 


Because STDs, and the behaviors associated with acquiring them, increase the likelihood of acquiring and transmitting HIV infection, STD incidence among MSM may also be an indicator of higher risk for subsequent HIV infection.5, 6


Individual-level risk behaviors, such as number of lifetime sex partners, rate of partner exchange and frequency of unprotected sex, may contribute to disparities observed in the sexual health of MSM. 


Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are curable with antibiotics. Widespread access to screening and treatment would reduce their spread. Most STD cases continue to go undiagnosed and untreated, putting individuals at risk for severe and often irreversible health consequences, including infertility, chronic pain and increased risk for HIV

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