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Globally, 8 Percent of Men Who Have Sex With Men Have Syphilis

Researchers say this is 15 times higher than estimates for men in the general population

FRIDAY, July 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Nearly 8 percent of men who have sex with men (MSM) may have syphilis, according to a review published online July 8 in The Lancet Global Health.

Motoyuki Tsuboi, M.D., from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to estimate the global prevalence of syphilis among MSM.

The researchers identified 345 prevalence data points from 275 studies across 77 countries, with a total of 606,232 participants. From 2000 to 2020, the global pooled prevalence was 7.5 percent, ranging from 1.9 percent in Australia and New Zealand to 10.6 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean. This estimated worldwide prevalence is 15 times higher than most recent estimates for men in the general population (7.5 versus 0.5 percent).

“Syphilis prevalence among MSM is unacceptably high at the global and Sustainable Development Goals regional levels, particularly in lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-income countries, where cases appear to be increasing and where HIV prevalence is high,” Tsuboi said in a statement. “Urgent action is needed.”

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