MRSA Information for Gay Men

MRSA outbreaks have occurred among gay men. The infection can be acquired through close physical contact. When sores develop around the groin, thighs and buttocks, close skin-to-skin contact during sex may be a risk factor.

The use of recreational drugs such as crystal methamphetamine impairs the senses and decreases the body's ability to fight infections. A side effect of crystal methamphetamine is a creepy-crawly sensation under the skin. Scratching can break the skin, which can easily become infected with MRSA. HIV infection can also impair one's ability to fight off infections such as MRSA.

Prevention of MRSA Skin Infections for Gay Men

Maintain Good Hygiene

Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Shower after sexual contact or other skin-to-skin activities. Not showering between contact with different people or partners may increase one's risk.

Wash bedding, clothes, and commonly used surfaces frequently, especially if they are shared.

Avoid Skin-to-Skin Contact

Avoid physical contact with anyone who has sores, unless you are changing bandages - in which case you should use gloves and wash hands afterwards. If you have an infection, keep it covered and avoid skin-to-skin contact with others until your cut has healed.

Don't share items that touch the skin (towels, razors, etc.).

Keep Cuts and Wounds Covered

Keep cuts and wounds covered to reduce the risk of infection.

See Your Doctor

If you have a wound or abscess, do not pick at it or try to drain it yourself. Visit a health care provider for information on how to care for it.

Although MRSA can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact during sex, MRSA is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI), and most DOHMH Sexual Health Clinics are not equipped to do the necessary diagnostic testing. If you think you may have MRSA, you should seek care at your primary care doctor, not a DOHMH Sexual Health Clinic.

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