Syphilis Is Back On The Rise Among U.S. Gay & Bisexual Men
Syphilis was nearly eradicated in the late 20th Century, but it is back with a vengeance, according to the CDC.
Syphilis, a sexually transmitted venereal disease, is rising among gay and bisexual men after being nearly eliminated in the United States more than a decade ago, according to a federal study released on Thursday.
The increase in syphilis among gay men is a major public health concern, said researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because it indicates sexual behavior that could lead to an increase in HIV transmission.
The U.S. syphilis rate in 2013 was 5.3 cases per 100,000 people, more than twice the all-time low of 2.1 cases per 100,000 people in 2000, the CDC reported. The majority of patients with the disease, which is treatable, were men who had sex with other men.
CDC experts admit that strategies to raise awareness and prevent syphilis infection have not been effective in the gay and bisexual male populations. "We’ve got to re-evaluate and look at new approaches that we can use to drive these rates down,” said Gail Bolan, director of the CDC's Division of STD Prevention.
To combat the surge of cases, the CDC has stressed education on the importance of using condoms during sex and encouraged doctors to regularly screen for syphilis in the LGBT community.