Health Protection Agency
Publication date: November 2012
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are a group at increased risk of specific sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhoea, syphilis and lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV). MSM experience 73% of syphilis cases, 30% of male gonococcal infections seen in GUM and 43% of HIV cases attending specialist care in the UK in 2010. MSM have other specific sexual health needs including Hepatitis A and B vaccination and rectal and pharyngeal gonorrhoea testing.
Preventive, diagnostic and treatment sexual health services for MSM have been historically provided through specialist genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics in England and Wales. National guidance recognises the specialist expertise required for MSM services, which may explain the concentration of this provision in GUM clinics.
The 2001 National Strategy for Sexual Health placed an emphasis on delivering sexual health services in community-based settings in addition to local GUM clinics. The aim of this was to widen access to sexual health services for all. It was anticipated that community based non-GUM settings (which have also become known as Enhanced Sexual Health Services - ESHS) would offer a basic range of sexual health services, in addition to those offered by local GUM clinics and integrated sexual health services.
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Last reviewed: 10 December 2012