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In Europe, men who have sex with men (MSM) are one of the key populations most affected by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. In many European countries, sex between men accounts for the bulk of new diagnoses of STIs and HIV. For example, 50% of new syphilis cases reported in 2012 in Europe were among MSM (and up to 80% in some countries) and 45% of new cases of HIV. Furthermore, in the last decade, there have been a number of outbreaks of STIs, such as Lymphogranuloma venereum, which have occurred simultaneously in a number of European cities, highlighting dense international sexual networks that exist among MSM.1
STIs are a major health concern because they can facilitate the transmission of HIV and in their own right, as many STIs have major sequelae. Gonorrhoeal infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat and resistance is most apparent among MSM.2 The incidence of STIs among MSM is due, in part, to the high levels of sexual risk behaviour reported by MSM, which can be exacerbated by sero-adaptive sexual practices.3 Furthermore, concerns that new HIV prevention and treatment options, such the increasing emphasis on treatment as prevention for the HIV-positive individual and pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent acquisition of infection in the negative individuals, may contribute to increasing levels of STIs in the future. Thus there is a need to ensure that …
Contributors Written and approved by both authors.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.