Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Health officials struggle to reach out to gay men

One of the communities that continues to be at a high risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is men who have sex with men (MSM). Some people believe that this might be due to gay dating apps for men like Grindr, which promote casual sexual encounters with others in the same geographical area. To counteract this, health officials are attempting to encourage the use of other mobile apps that can help keep individuals STD-free. 

New smartphone technology can send messages to alert subscribers of things they need to do for the benefit of their sexual health, such as getting tested for STDs and HIV, as reported by the Bay Area Reporter. It can also let them know if there is any major news in their area about the prevalence or severity of the diseases that may be applicable to them.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation has been working with other collaborators on a text messaging notification system that they plan to release in September.

Routine testing is key to reducing STD prevalence

On top of screening for infections of the reproductive system, it's important that gay men routinely get tested for throat and mouth cancers, which can develop from engaging in oral sex. Increasingly more cases of the human papillomavirus are being observed in the U.S. In fact, not only is it the most common STD, but approximately 50 percent of sexually active individuals will be infected with it at some point during their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"If you use it, you should check it," Steve Gibson, director of a men's health center in San Francisco's Castro district, told the news source when discussing body parts that could become infected with a STD. "It is not hard to do this. It should be the standard of care."

Another STD that health officials are keeping an eye on is syphilis. In California, 18 percent of screened individuals tested positively for it last year. Eight out of 10 of the infected residents are MSM.