VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Coastal Health has launched a new campaign aimed at stopping syphilis among gay and bi men there since rates have reached epidemic proportions and a 30-year high, the Vancouver Sun reports.
The sexually transmitted disease is highly contagious. If left untreated, syphilis can lead to blindness, hearing loss, neurological problems and in severe cases can be fatal.
Vancouver Coastal Health launched the campaign to urge people in gay and bisexual communities to get tested regularly and practice safe sex, the Sun reports.
Statistics show that in 2010 there were more than 1,750 cases in Canada, up from the 177 in 1993, the Sun article noted. Health officials say the disease was almost non-existent 20 years ago but shifted into the gay community in the early ‘00s.