Syphilis on the Rise, Again


The Minnesota Department of Health released some bad news last month; syphilis is once again making a comeback in Minnesota.

For the last six years, the rate of syphilis has been increasing in the state, especially among gay and bisexual men. There were 114 new cases of the disease reported to MDH in 2007, a 30 percent increase from the previous year.

What's interesting about the MDH's newest syphilis research is that 44 percent of the newly infected gay and bisexual men are also HIV positive.

According to Bill Burleson, syphilis elimination coordinator at MDH, syphilis is a curable and preventable disease. Quoted in the Twin Cities Daily Planet he says:

We need to educate ourselves and stay informed in order to fight it. For those gay and bisexual men who are sexually active with multiple partners, especially if they met those partners on the internet, this is no longer a rare disease. It's important to know the risks, use condoms, and know what to look for if there’s a chance you or a partner may be infected.

Those at risk, even if they don't have symptoms, need to get tested for syphilis every six months, and perhaps even more often for those who are HIV positive.

According to the report, the most commonly reported risk factors among those with syphilis in 2007 were meeting partners on the internet, anonymous sex, and no condom use.

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