Second National Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy 2010 - 2013

5.3 Gay men and other men who have sex with men

Page last updated: July 2010

Gay men and other men who have sex with men have a high prevalence of STIs. Other reasons for prioritising this population are:

  • the role of STIs in HIV transmission, increasing both susceptibility to, and infectiousness of, HIV
  • higher risk sexual practices
  • barriers to service access.
There has been a resurgence of some STIs in gay men and it is unclear whether this extends to other men who have sex with men. More data are required to determine this and whether additional preventive action is needed in this group. There has also been a recent doubling in notifications of syphilis in the non-Indigenous population in gay men.27 This rise in notifications prompted the development of the National Gay Men’s Syphilis Action Plan through the Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Subcommittee of the Australian Population Health Development Principal Committee. In addition, there have been small clusters of notifications of a previously rare condition, lymphogranuloma venereum.

Gay men and other men who have sex with men are not a homogeneous group with respect to STI prevalence, social and behavioural factors. High priority subpopulations requiring specifically tailored interventions include: sexually adventurous gay men, gay men with HIV, and young men reporting same sex attraction.

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27 National Centre for HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, 2009, AnnualSurveillance Report, University of New South Wales.