December 19, 2014 at 8:00 am EST | by Staff reports
CDC reports syphilis spike
Treponema pallidum, syphilis, gay news, Washington Blade

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

ATLANTA — Syphilis is rapidly spreading among gay and bisexual men in the United States, leading to the highest new case numbers reported in two decades, while other common sexually transmitted diseases appear to be under control, a federal study found on Tuesday according to Reuters and other news outlets.

In 2013, the number of syphilis infections reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rose by more than 10 percent to 17,535 cases, according to the agency’s annual report card on diseases commonly spread through sexual contact.

That is the most syphilis cases since 1995, the CDC said, with men having sex with men accounting for 75 percent of infections, Reuters reports.

The report also found that gonorrhea transmission was stabilizing, while new cases of Chlamydia declined from the levels seen in 2012, the article said.

Federal health officials called for better screening of syphilis, which can lead to blindness and stroke if untreated. Half of the men with syphilis are also infected with HIV, according to the CDC, which recommends at least annual tests for men having sex with men.

Men having sex with anonymous partners may require more frequent screenings, such as every three to six months, CDC reps said, calling for more awareness among medical professionals, the Reuters article said.

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