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Int J STD AIDS. 2012 Dec;23(12):859-61. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2012.012016.

Examining self and partners for syphilis among men who have sex with men: five US cities, 2009-2011.

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  • 1Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, CDC, Atlanta, GA, USA.


To increase self-examination for syphilis among men who have sex with men (MSM), we developed educational materials to increase knowledge of primary and secondary syphilis manifestations. Materials were piloted in five cities' infectious disease or MSM clinics. Self- and partner-examination behaviour was assessed with an anonymous questionnaire. Of 1459 participants, 914 men had had sex with a man in the previous three months; the 171 MSM who reported having read the materials were significantly more likely to examine themselves (anus, adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR] 1.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.15-1.52), mouth, penis and skin, and their partners' anus (aPR 1.3, 95% CI 1.03-1.73) and mouth (aPR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1-2.26). Further research is needed to determine whether educational materials affect early detection and treatment of primary and secondary syphilis and reduce transmission.

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