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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”


CDC Urges Annual STD Testing
Tuesday, 14 May 2002

ATLANTA -- In a noteworthy first, federal health officials are now recommending that sexually active gay and bisexual men get tested annually for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

New testing guidelines released by the Centers Disease Control and Prevention urge doctors to make "frank inquiries about their patients' sexual histories and other potential risk factors." The new guidelines, which are not mandatory, apply to all "sexually active men who have sex with men."

This in itself is a departure from past CDC guidelines, which advised testing only based on certain high-risk sexual activity.

The CDC issued the guidelines in response to rising rates of HIV infection and a growing syphilis problem among some gay and bisexual men. The government also notes with pronounced concern antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea in California and a high prevalence of chlamydia reinfection among women.

Doctors are advised to screen their gay and bisexual patients annually for HIV, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea, and vaccinate them against hepatitis A and B. The CDC also advised that men with more than one partner be tested more frequently.


"The CDC is reaching out to the private medical sector, beyond public health clinics, to try and make doctors more aware of the risks of undiagnosed and untreated STDs," said Dr. Ronald Valdiserr of the CDC's national center for HIV, STD and tuberculosis prevention.

Among other recommendations, doctors have been advised to discourage the use of nonoxynol-9, which has been associated with urinary tract infections in women and damage to rectal lining in gay and bisexual men.

Valdiserri said the notice to doctors from health officials was simple and direct, "talk to your patients... Find out their sexual history. If they're in a stable monogamous relationship, this doesn't apply to them. If they are someone with many sexual partners, they should be screened more frequently. That's really the message."


-- Editor