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Is MRSA an STD?

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Updated February 04, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Is MRSA an STD?
Answer: Despite news reports about MRSA infections in the gay men, and although MRSA can be transmitted through intimate contact, it is not primarily thought of as an STD. Staph bacteria can be spread by any close personal contact, and most infections are spread by casual or medical contact, not through sex. Many people carry staph on their skin, however, and it's important to practice good hygiene... even though most staph infections are relatively minor.

How Can I Reduce the Risk of Getting MRSA?

  • Keep clean.
    Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, particularly after going to the bathroom. This will help keep you from moving bacteria from one part of your skin to another.
  • Keep your germs to yourself.
    Wash with soap and water after sex and other skin-to-skin contact (including sports games, dancing, etc.), and don't share personal items like towels, razors, or tweezers.
  • Avoid infection.
    Keep your cuts, scrapes and scratches clean, dry, and covered.
  • Be sensible.
    When at the gym, clean equipment with antiseptic spray or put down a towel.

Sources:

Binh An Diep et al. "Emergence of Multidrug-Resistant, Community-Associated, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Clone USA300 in Men Who Have Sex with Men" Annals of Internal Medicine 148(4) Epub Ahead of Print. (Accessed 1/22/08).

CDC Community Associated MRSA Information Page (Accessed 1/22/08).

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