April 15, 2017 at 11:11 am EDT | by Staff reports
Syphilis rates higher for gay men in South
Treponema pallidum, syphilis, STI, gay news, Washington Blade

Electron micrograph of Treponema pallidum. Treponema pallidum is the causative agent of syphilis. (Public domain image by the CDC)

A new U.S. report shows the spread of syphilis is far worse in gay men in southern states, the Associated Press reports.

North Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana have the highest rates. In North Carolina, as many as one in 134 gay and bisexual men were diagnosed with the most contagious forms of syphilis in 2015.

The South has long had higher rates of diseases spread through sex. The April 6 report is the first breakdown for syphilis by sexual orientation for 44 states, the AP article notes.

In all states, the rates for straight men are far lower. The disease is also much more common in men than women, the AP reports.

Syphilis is a dangerous bacterial disease that surfaces as genital sores. The arrival of antibiotics in the 1940s reduced syphilis dramatically, but U.S. cases have been rising for about 15 years.

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