New data on syphilis rates among gay, bisexual men with HIV

Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI): CDC to present estimates of syphilis rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) including HIV status

Estimated Primary & Secondary (P&S) Syphilis Rates in MSM By HIV Status – 34 States, 2014 (Poster Presentation, HIV and Drug Use, March 7, 2018, 2:30-3:30 p.m.)

In 2016, approximately half of MSM with P&S syphilis, the most infectious stages of the disease, were also living with an HIV diagnosis. Attempting to gain a better understanding of the burden of disease and how it varies by state, CDC researchers for the first time calculated the rate of P&S syphilis among MSM living with diagnosed HIV infection and those who were HIV-negative or had unknown status.

The findings reveal a stark disparity. In the 34 states included in the analysis, the rate of P&S syphilis among MSM living with diagnosed HIV was 8 times higher than the rate in MSM without an HIV diagnosis (1,203 vs. 155 per 100,000 MSM). While the magnitude of the difference varies across states, rates among MSM with HIV were higher in 33 of the 34 states.

This analysis further quantifies the dangerous intersection of HIV and syphilis, particularly for gay and bisexual men. Syphilis can increase the risk of HIV transmission. For providers who see MSM patients with HIV, STD testing and treatment is critical to protect their health.  

For more information from CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, visit

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