MRSA or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, a “superbug” infection usually contracted in hospitals, is now being transmitted during male-male sexual encounters. This news comes just a few months after MRSA was discovered in some Virginia schools. As the linked pages note, MRSA is highly drug resistant and can be deadly. It comes in many strains and is often difficult to treat, requiring expensive antibiotic regimes. The discovery of MRSA in schools and among sexually active gay men is disturbing because it indicates that this “superbug” is no longer an exclusively hospital-based phenomenon and may start becoming more common in the general population, where researcher Binh Diep says it would be “unstoppable.”
In San Francisco, researchers found that sexually active gay men were 13 times more likely to have MRSA than sexually active heterosexuals. It is passed on in the same way as other sexually transmitted diseases: unprotected and skin-abrading sex.
The best way to avoid getting MRSA in any fashion is through simply practicing good hygiene and washing with soap and water. This is why, as this blog has discussed before, it is vitally important for healthcare professionals to wash their hands before examining or treating patients.