January 20, 2017 at 2:39 pm EDT | by Staff reports
Study considers syphilis rates and antiretrovirals
Treponema pallidum, syphilis, gay news, Washington Blade

Treponema pallidum is the bacterium that causes treponemal diseases such as syphilis, bejel, pinta, and yaws. (Image by Dr. David Cox; courtesy CDC Health Image Library)

VANCOUVER — Gay and bisexual men taking antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV infection may be at increased risk for syphilis, HealthDay News reports citing new research.

Based on a review of available evidence, researchers concluded that the drugs may boost susceptibility to the bacterium that causes syphilis, although the study did not prove cause and effect.

The finding might explain why new and repeat cases of syphilis in gay and bisexual men have risen sharply compared to other sexually transmitted infections over the past decade, researchers wrote.

The study team was led by Dr. Michael Rekart, from the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health in Vancouver. The findings were published in the Jan. 16 issue of the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

The authors of an editorial that accompanied the study said the theory is “intriguing” and “warrants careful consideration.” But the editorial also suggested that the increase in syphilis cases among gay and bisexual men may be due to other factors.

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