Why gay jocks should worry about MRSA

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Though the hype over antibiotic-resistant staph infections has led to gay men being wrongly blamed for its spread, it’s still worth noting that we do face the threat of what can turn into a deadly infection. Gay gym-goers and athletes face an elevated risk of becoming infected.

Southern Voice recently broke through the chatter from conservatives and some media outlets who misinterpreted the results of a study of staph infections in San Francisco’s Castro District. The piece, published Jan. 25, also takes an in-depth look at the skin infection and how it’s transmitted. Read the full story.

A strain of Methicclin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA, is resistant to three antibiotics used to treat it. And gay men, especially physically active ones, should take note: Though the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention doesn’t track the infection, anecdotal evidence from medical practices with large numbers of gay patients suggests a high concentration of MRSA, SoVo reports. Scientists also suggest that the resistant strain developed in HIV infected men.

MRSA is spread through skin-to-skin contact, sex or a contaminated surface. Think gyms, locker rooms and going shirtless on the dance floor. Atlanta physician T. Douglas Gurley made the connection for the newspaper:

“It‘s spread through skin to skin contact, or sex, or a contaminated surface, so it really gets transmitted at gyms, sauna or sex clubs. Interestingly it was found 30 percent in the groin area, and gay men shave that area, and shaving creates micro-abrasions which can make you more susceptible.”

Outsports.com recently highlighted a New York Times piece about gay swimmer Jack Mackenroth, who developed an MRSA infection. You might know him better as one of the designers on Bravo’s “Project Runway” who left the show after the skin infection surfaced. Outsports also profiled Mackenroth.

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