Gay Kiwi men infected with rare STI

Published: March 13, 2015

Original Article:

Five homosexual men have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection rarely found in New Zealand – and scientists say most of them probably caught it in the country.

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is endemic in developing countries but is uncommon in New Zealand, and when it is diagnosed in the country, the patient usually caught it overseas.

But a study published in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal found there were five cases of LGV diagnosed since September 2013, and four of them were likely infected in the country.

The first patient – a 59-year-old man – had just got back from an overseas holiday but the other four hadn’t been out of the country recently.

Three of the five were infected with the same variation of LGV, while the other two were infected with a second strain.

"This suggests that both epidemic serovars [variations] have been introduced locally, presumably by New Zealand residents infected overseas or potentially by visitors to New Zealand," the study said.

There hadn’t been any reported cases in New Zealand since 2008, when two men who have sex with men were diagnosed after travelling to Australia.

All of the men reported high-risk sexual behaviour and all had also contracted either HIV or gonorrhoea – or both.

The study called for awareness campaigns and enhanced testing to reduce the spread of LGV in the country.

The prevalence of the infection in New Zealand is unknown, but the authors estimated that 5.6 per cent of Australian men who have sex with men are infected – although it’s often asymptomatic.

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