Heed the warning, readers: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise, and some pretty nasty ones are out there to get you. You already know from an earlier post that syphilis is back with a vengeance, but you can add to that rectal gonorrhea and new HIV infections for the unwise. Rounding out the mix is the antibiotic resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus, which researchers think is being transmitted among gay men during sex.

A new study appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) is showing up outside of hospitals in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles. It states that gay men are 13 times more likely to get infected than heterosexual men. Researchers believe that the infection is being spread through sexual activity, and that illicit drug use and increased risky sexual behavior is fueling the transmission. Because Staph aureus can, and in some people does, colonize around the anus, those having sex which might break the skin are at a greater risk of infection.

I don’t have to tell you how dangerous MRSA is. It’s resistant to penicillins, a common class of antibiotics, and is therefore difficult to treat, often requiring intravenous antibiotic drug therapy…which ain’t cheap. If the infection gets bad enough it can lead to death–approximately 19,000 people were killed by MRSA (mostly in hospitals) in 2005.

So what’s the advice? C’mon people: Use protection without exception! Safe sex is still in. It better be, because the alternative just isn’t worth it. And not to sound like a Moral Majorist here, but…keep the number of sexual partners to a reasonably modest amount, sheesh. Hey, I’m not knocking a good orgy; heavens no. But the days of wine and roses are over–they ended in the 70s. Free love costs beaucoup bucks now. So be smart. No glove, no love. Simple as that.

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