P28 Syphilis Outbreak Among Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) in Puerto Rico (January-June, 2008 vs. 2009)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Pre-Function Lobby & Grand Ballroom D2/E (M4) (Omni Hotel)
Julius Alvarez, BA1, Aixa Irizarry, MBA2 and Edwin Rodriguez, BA1, 1Puerto Rico Department of Health, Latin American Center for AIDS and Other Sexually Transmitted Disease, San Juan, PR, 2Puerto Rico Health Department, Latin American Center for AIDS and Other Sexually Transmitted Disease, San Juan, PR

Background: Since 2004, STD Surveillance Office notified an increase in the reported cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis cases among males. For 2008 and first semester 2009 was identified an increase in the number of P&S syphilis cases among men who have sex with men (MSM), many of whom are co-infected with HIV.

Objectives: Describe the outbreak of P & S syphilis among MSM in Puerto Rico.

Methods: We reviewed case interview records and syphilis surveillance data for P&S syphilis cases reported to the  STD Surveillance Office as P & S syphilis from 2008 through June 2009.

Results: From January - June (2008 vs.2009) P&S syphilis cases among MSM increased 31 %.in Puerto Rico.  Of those MSM diagnosed with P & S syphilis, 26.5 % were co-infected with HIV, with 20 - 44 years old. A 46 % of MSM reported use of Internet to seek partners. During first semester of 2009 the municipalities with most cases reported were San Juan, Carolina and Toa Baja.

Conclusions: The prevalence of HIV among those patients with P & S syphilis indicating unsafe sexual activities among these men. Knowledge of HIV co-infection in patients with syphilis and sexual behavior is an important factor for clinical management, partner follow-up and disease prevention. Internet has identified as a common venue for meeting sex partners and planning participation in risky sexual behavior among MSM diagnosed with P & S syphilis.

Implications for Programs, Policy, and/or Research: These data highlight the urgent need to identify more effective prevention methods for MSM in Puerto Rico.

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