Syphilis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection disproportionately affects men who have sex with men (MSM), and the rate of co-infection has been increasing over the last decade. HIV and syphilis co-infection is particularly challenging because the infections interact synergistically thereby increasing the risk of acquisition and transmission as well as accelerating disease progression.
This paper reviews and summarizes the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, clinical management and prevention of HIV and syphilis co-infection among MSM. Expert Commentary: Research does not support a different syphilis treatment for co-infected individuals; however, co-infection may warrant a recommendation for antiretroviral therapy. In order to reverse the epidemic of syphilis and HIV co-infection, there needs to be greater awareness, improved cultural sensitivity among health care providers, improved access to preventative services and increased screening for syphilis and HIV.