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      High incidence of diagnosis with syphilis co-infection among men who have sex with men in an HIV cohort in Ontario, Canada


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          The re-emergence of syphilis among HIV-positive gay and other men who have sex with men (MSM) requires vigilance. We estimated incidence of and risk factors for first and subsequent syphilis diagnoses among MSM in HIV care in Ontario, Canada.


          We analyzed data from 2,280 MSM under follow-up from 2006 to 2010 in the Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort Study (OCS), a multi-site clinical cohort. We obtained syphilis serology results via record linkage with the provincial public health laboratory. Rates were calculated using Poisson regression.


          First syphilis diagnoses occurred at a rate of 2.0 per 100 person-years (95 % CI 1.7, 2.4; 121 cases) whereas the re-diagnosis rate was 7.5 per 100 person-years (95 % CI 6.3, 8.8; 136 cases). We observed higher rates over time and among men who were aged <30 years, receiving care in the two largest urban centers, or had a previous syphilis diagnosis. Syphilis diagnosis was less common among Indigenous men, men with higher CD4 cell counts, and, for first diagnoses only, among men with less than high school education.


          Compared to reported cases in the general male population, incidence of a new syphilis diagnosis was over 300 times greater among HIV-positive MSM but year-to-year changes reflected provincial trends. Re-diagnosis was common, suggesting treatment failure or re-infection. Novel syphilis control efforts are needed among HIV-positive MSM.

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          From epidemiological synergy to public health policy and practice: the contribution of other sexually transmitted diseases to sexual transmission of HIV infection.

          To review the scientific data on the role of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in sexual transmission of HIV infection and discuss the implications of these findings for HIV and STD prevention policy and practice. Articles were selected from a review of Medline, accessed with the OVID search engine. The search covered articles from January 1987 to September 1998 and yielded 2101 articles. Methods used to uncover articles which might have been missed included searching for related articles by author, and combing literature reviews. In addition, all abstracts under the category "sexually transmitted diseases" from the XI and XII International Conferences on AIDS (Vancouver 1996 and Geneva 1998) and other relevant scientific meetings were reviewed. Efforts were made to locate journal articles which resulted from the research reported in the identified abstracts. All original journal articles and abstracts which met one of the following criteria were included: (1) studies of the biological plausibility or mechanism of facilitation of HIV infectiousness or susceptibility by STDs, (2) prospective cohort studies (longitudinal or nested case-control) which estimate the risk of HIV infection associated with specific STDs or STD syndromes, or (3) intervention studies which quantitate the effect which STD treatment can have on HIV incidence. Strong evidence indicates that both ulcerative and non-ulcerative STDs promote HIV transmission by augmenting HIV infectiousness and HIV susceptibility via a variety of biological mechanisms. These effects are reflected in the risk estimates found in numerous prospective studies from four continents which range from 2.0 to 23.5, with most clustering between 2 and 5. The relative importance of ulcerative and non-ulcerative STDs appears to be complex. Owing to the greater frequency of non-ulcerative STDs in many populations, these infections may be responsible for more HIV transmission than genital ulcers. However, the limited reciprocal impact of HIV infection on non-ulcerative STDs and the evidence that non-ulcerative STDs may increase risk primarily for the receptive partner (rather than bidirectionally) may modulate the impact of these diseases. The results of two community level randomised, controlled intervention trials conducted in Africa suggest that timely provision of STD services can substantially reduce HIV incidence, but raise additional questions about the optimal way to target and implement these services to achieve the greatest effect on HIV transmission. Available data leave little doubt that other STDs facilitate HIV transmission through direct, biological mechanisms and that early STD treatment should be part of a high quality, comprehensive HIV prevention strategy. Policy makers, HIV prevention programme managers, and providers should focus initial implementation efforts on three key areas: (i) improving access to and quality of STD clinical services; (ii) promoting early and effective STD related healthcare behaviours; and (iii) establishing surveillance systems to monitor STD and HIV trends and their interrelations.
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            Prevalence of sexually transmitted co-infections in people living with HIV/AIDS: systematic review with implications for using HIV treatments for prevention.

            Sexually transmitted co-infections increase HIV infectiousness through local inflammatory processes. The prevalence of STI among people living with HIV/AIDS has implications for containing the spread of HIV in general and the effectiveness of HIV treatments for prevention in particular. Here we report a systematic review of STI co-infections in people living with HIV/AIDS. We focus on STI contracted after becoming HIV infected. Electronic database and manual searches located 37 clinical and epidemiological studies of STI that increase HIV infectiousness. Studies of adults living with HIV/AIDS from developed and developing countries reported STI rates for 46 different samples (33 samples had clinical/laboratory confirmed STI). The overall mean point-prevalence for confirmed STI was 16.3% (SD=16.4), and median 12.4% STI prevalence in people living with HIV/AIDS. The most common STI studied were Syphilis with median 9.5% prevalence, Gonorrhea 9.5%, Chlamydia 5%, and Trichamoniasis 18.8% prevalence. STI prevalence was greatest at the time of HIV diagnosis, reflecting the role of STI in HIV transmission. Prevalence of STI among individuals receiving HIV treatment was not appreciably different from untreated persons. The prevalence of STI in people infected with HIV suggests that STI co-infections could undermine efforts to use HIV treatments for prevention by increasing genital secretion infectiousness.
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              Syphilis increases HIV viral load and decreases CD4 cell counts in HIV-infected patients with new syphilis infections


                Author and article information

                1-416-642-6486 , ann.burchell@utoronto.ca
                BMC Infect Dis
                BMC Infect. Dis
                BMC Infectious Diseases
                BioMed Central (London )
                20 August 2015
                20 August 2015
                : 15
                : 356
                [ ]Ontario HIV Treatment Network, Suite 600, 1300 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4T 1X3 Canada
                [ ]Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Public Health Laboratories, Public Health Ontario, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Division of Infectious Diseases, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Division of General Internal Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Centre for Research on Inner City Health, Li KaShing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]AIDS Bureau, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada
                [ ]Department of Family and Community Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada
                © Burchell et al. 2015

                Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 13 March 2015
                : 7 August 2015
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2015

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                Infectious disease & Microbiology


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