Journal of Community Health

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 458–467 | Cite as

Community Associated Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Among New York City Men Who have Sex with Men: Qualitative Research Findings and Implications for Public Health Practice

  • Gabriel R. GalindoEmail author
  • Amber J. Casey
  • Alice Yeung
  • Don Weiss
  • Melissa A. Marx
Original Paper


Academic literature has recorded increased microbial resistance in the United States and recent news media has adversely portrayed men who have sex with men (MSM) at increased risk for community associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) transmission. CA-MRSA is a specific type of bacteria resistant to certain antibiotics, which limits treatment options for those needing clinical care. Infection can manifest as painful abscesses and can cause severe illness. With increased CA-MRSA infections overall, and attention given to MSM populations regarding CA-MRSA, as well as the fact that limited data on sociocultural factors that may facilitate transmission, we undertook a qualitative study to explore contextual influences that may fuel infection among MSM in New York City so that public health professionals can better recognize, and respond appropriately to, potential future outbreaks. In-depth interviews were used to qualitatively investigate perceptions and beliefs regarding transmission, as well as community understandings of treatment options. Participants included thirteen MSM who reported a previous CA-MRSA infection and nine community practitioners. A thematic content analysis of these interviews was conducted and data suggests that behaviors and exposures associated with transmission of CA-MRSA are common in certain MSM networks. Specifically, sociocultural influences and methamphetamine use activities were found to contribute to CA-MRSA transmission. We underscore the role of public health and health services practitioners in providing appropriate CA-MRSA awareness and education to MSM populations.


Men who have sex with men (MSM) Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Qualitative methods Methamphetamine use 



This research was funded by Pfizer Inc. (Grant #GA9000C5). The authors thank the following individuals for their contribution with data collection: Julia Elizabeth Sullivan, Kevin Malloy, Kathryn Salo, Aimee Julien, Damon Duquaine and Daniel Krieger. Our deepest gratitude goes to Jamie Sokol, Elizabeth Kilgore and Marci Layton for their support and guidance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel R. Galindo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amber J. Casey
    • 2
  • Alice Yeung
    • 3
  • Don Weiss
    • 3
  • Melissa A. Marx
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for AIDS Prevention StudiesUniversity of California at San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Washington State Department of Health HIV Client ServicesOlympiaUSA
  3. 3.Bureau of Communicable DiseaseNew York City Department of Health and Mental HygieneQueensUSA
  4. 4.Global AIDS ProgramCenters for Disease Control and PreventionLusakaZambia

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