May 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm EDT | by Staff reports
Soaring syphilis rates mostly in MSM community
Treponema pallidum, syphilis, gay news, Washington Blade

Treponema pallidum, the bacterium that causes treponemal diseases such as syphilis, bejel, pinta, and yaws. (Image by Dr. David Cox; courtesy CDC Health Image Library)

NEW YORK — Health officials say syphilis has reached its highest level since 1995 with the increase all in men, the Associated Press reports.

Syphilis remains far less common in the U.S. than many other sexually spread diseases, but there has been a steady rise in gay and bisexual men catching the disease. They account for most of the recent infectious cases, health officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Since 2005, the rate in men has nearly doubled. It is much lower in women and hasn’t changed much.

Syphilis is a potentially deadly bacterial disease that surfaces as genital sores. It was far more common until antibiotics became available in the 1940s, slashing the number of annual cases to below 6,000.

Last year, there were nearly 17,000 cases, the AP reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the numbers May 8.

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