Sexual Health Sexual Health Society
Publishing on sexual health from the widest perspective

Virtual Issues

STIs in MSM - long and the short of it

There is a relatively new challenge facing Sexual Health around the world; an explosion of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) in gay and other men who have sex with men (MSM). This began about 20 years ago as highly effective treatment for HIV moved it from a universally fatal condition to a chronic manageable condition. And early data suggest rates will rise further as HIV treatments make transmission virtually impossible and pre exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) provides HIV-negative MSM with very high levels of protection against HIV.

This virtual issue highlights some of the key papers published over the last few years that seek to understand the reasons for the rises in STIs. But the virtual issue also highlights some important long-term consequences of one relatively silent STI; Human papillomavirus (HPV). MSM, and particularly those with HIV, are particularly susceptible to HPV infection and are at much higher risk of HPV-related malignancies.

This virtual issue includes papers on rising rates of specific STIs in MSM, possible explanations for the rises, ways to improve surveillance and ways to prevent STIs. It also highlights a number of key papers relating to HPV- associated malignancies and potential approaches to reducing these. Fortunately for young MSM, at least Australia’s national childhood HPV vaccination program will prevent virtually all HPV-related malignancies.