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Are You at Risk for MRSA?

Are You at Risk for MRSA?

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Reports in early 2008 that drug-resistant staph infections -- clinically known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA -- were spreading sexually among HIV-positive gay men prompted researchers to take a look at just how vulnerable HIVers are to the potentially dangerous infection. Reporting in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, they noted that the rate of MRSA colonization in the nose -- which is where the bacteria typically hides in people regardless of HIV serostatus -- is indeed higher among HIVers than the general population. But even among HIVers with nasal MRSA colonizations, axillary colonizations were rare, the researchers say, making it difficult to transmit the bacteria through sexual activity. Health officials say adopting these simple steps can help protect you from acquiring MRSA: ' Keep wounds clean and covered ' Don't pick or squeeze sores ' Wash your hands often or use a hand sanitizer ' Shower after having sex, as well as after working out or participating in a sporting event ' Don't share personal items like towels, athletic equipment, clothing, and toiletries ' Wash gym clothing after each use ' See your doctor if you have a sore that becomes infected or doesn't heal.

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