Syphilis up among minority gay, bisexual men


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that can be easily cured with antibiotics in the early stages. But many people do not have symptoms early on, or don’t recognize the symptoms, and continue to transmit the infection. In the U.S., syphilis has been on the rise since 2000, when the national rate hit an all-time low of 2.1 cases per 100,000 people.

That increase has been largely among men, who had a rate of just under 8 cases per 100,000 in 2009 (versus 1.4 cases per 100,000 women), according to the CDC. And studies have suggested that gay and bisexual men now account for a majority of new syphilis cases.

Health officials are concerned about the resurgence not only because of syphilis itself, but also because the infection makes people more vulnerable to contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Now the new findings, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, show that minorities — and young men, in particular — are being hit hardest by syphilis.

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