To assess the prevalence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) colonization in HIV-1-infected men who have sex with men (MSM), a cross-sectional study was conducted on 104 persons attending a large STI/HIV unit in Rome, Italy in the period June 2007–June 2008. Swabs obtained from both anterior nares and S. aureus isolates were characterized by phenotypic and genotypic methods. A total of 24 individuals (23·1%) were colonized with S. aureus but none carried MRSA. No statistically significant association between colonization with S. aureus and behavioural, clinical, virological or immunological characteristics was identified. This study indicates a lack of circulation of CA-MRSA in HIV-1-infected MSM in Italy and underscores large epidemiological differences between the USA and a European country, so that only locally conducted epidemiological studies can provide insight into the local circulation of CA-MRSA in general and selected populations.
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