A drug-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as staph, that has been reported in surging numbers among gay men in Los Angeles also has been documented among gay men in San Francisco, KTVU Fox 2 News in San Francisco reports. City health officials and health care providers confirmed that they are treating several patients who are infected with drug-resistant staph. As many as 40 drug-resistant staph infections have been reported in both HIV-positive and HIV-negative gay men in Los Angeles. There were no figures given as to how many San Francisco men are being treated.
The painful skin infections can be passed through skin-to-skin contact. The drug-resistant strain of the bacteria first turned up among Los Angeles gay men last fall and has been reported with increasing frequency since then. Health officials warn that the bacterial infection can be contracted at health clubs, steam rooms, bathhouses, sex clubs, and other venues. Gay men who have multiple sex partners also are at a higher risk for infection. Treatment usually includes standard antibiotics, but the drug-resistant infections are requiring new, stronger medications. In some cases patients have had to be hospitalized to receive intravenous antibiotics. There have been no deaths linked with the outbreak of the drug-resistant infections, but staph can be fatal if left untreated.