Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Euro CDC Clarifies Gay Staph
Media Confusion

Thanks to a story today in London's Pink Pages, I was made aware of an important announcement from the European Centre for Prevention and Disease Control regarding gay men and staph infections, which the gay newspaper reports came out on January 17.
I like that the ECPDC highlights the limitations of the UCSF study and that unlike UCSF's original release, the ECPDC makes no implications that gays and the general population are totally separate entities.
This is the second major governmental health promotion agency to make a corrective statement that is most substantive, and the ECPDC did so a full day before that useless gay media glam group GLAAD.
The authors did not have access to data on the specific sexual behaviour of those infected with this MRSA strain. As the risks associated with some sexual behaviour are much greater than with others it needs more detailed information. Sexual risk could only be assessed by the authors using proxy-indicators. At this time there is no evidence that this MRSA strain is transmitted sexually in the classical sense of the term.
What are the implications of this strain for Europe? To our knowledge, this strain of MRSA is not as common in Europe as compared with the US. Furthermore, we do not know the extent of its spread among MSM in Europe. In the Netherlands in 2003, the detection of a few cases of PVL-positive MRSA in MSM led to public health action (surveillance, and a low-key awareness campaign for physicians and in the gay community) [18]. [...]
In conclusion, clinicians across Europe should be aware of this particular strain as a possible aetiology in case of skin infections in MSM. Pending further research, awareness may also need to be promoted among the MSM community to highlight the symptoms, prevention measures and implications.
The original UCSF press release, entitled Sexually-active gay men vulnerable to new, highly infectious bacteria was based on a study due to be published in the February 19th issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. [...]
The press release was picked up by the media throughout the world.

UK tabloid newspaper Metro said it was the "new HIV," while others called the new strain of MRSA a "gay disease."

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