The findings and conclusions in these presentations have not been formally disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Using Research to Develop and Implement a Comprehensive Syphilis Elimination Plan for MSM in Massachusetts

David S. Novak, Division of STD Prevention, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 305 South Street, Room 560, Boston, MA, USA, Thomas Bertrand, Division of STD Prevention and HIV/AIDS Surveillance, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 305 South Street, Room 560, Boston, MA, USA, Sylvie Ratelle, STD Division, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, State Laboratory Institute, 305 South Street, Boston, MA, USA, Kenneth H. Mayer, Fenway Community Health and Brown University/Miriam Hospital, 7 Haviland Street, Boston, MA, USA, Rodney VanDerwarker, The Research Institute, Fenway Community Health, 7 Haviland Street, Boston, MA, USA, and Matthew J. Mimiaga, Fenway Community Health and Harvard Medical School, Prudential Tower, 4th Floor, 800 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, USA.

Infectious syphilis among MSM in Massachusetts represents a growing health problem, with 53 cases reported in 2001 and a projected 150 cases in 2005. In response to this problem, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has developed a comprehensive syphilis elimination plan targeting MSM. Many of the interventions have been developed using information obtained through surveys and research conducted in partnership with Fenway Community Health.

To describe the process of conducting research and applying findings to the development and implementation of public health interventions targeting MSM to prevent and control syphilis.

A variety of methods were used to obtain information to inform program interventions, including: interviews with at-risk MSM, Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) training needs survey, and focus groups with MSM community members. Findings from this research were used to create the 2005 Massachusetts Comprehensive Syphilis Elimination Plan.

Most MSM interviewed indicate a preference for primary care providers that are sensitive to gay health issues. A survey conducted with DIS in New England indicated they had training needs for better interviewing skills and case analysis. Focus groups held with Fenway's consumer advisory board and the MSM sexual health task force members helped inform changes to the STD Program's Internet partner notification procedures. In turn, the MDPH developed and implemented the following interventions: Prevention and Management of STDs in MSM - A Toolkit for Clinicians, a DIS MSM Training Workshop Curriculum, and a revised Internet partner notification policy.

Using local information obtained through research, interventions that meet the needs of MSM can be developed and formulated as part of a comprehensive syphilis elimination plan.

Participation in this workshop will provide attendees with insights and tools to assist them in the creation and implementation of a comprehensive syphilis elimination plan for MSM.