Florida health officials report that new syphilis cases in south Florida were 43% higher in January and February of this year than during the same two-month period in 2002 and that 90% of all new and existing cases of the sexually transmitted disease have occurred among gay and bisexual men, the Southern Voice reports. Of gay men being diagnosed with the STD in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, nearly 85% are coinfected with HIV, said Howard Sommers, acting director of the STD division of the Broward County Health Department.
"This is a result of high-risk activity, and not all gay men engage in this type of behavior," Sommers said. "Since a lot of these cases are being reported by men who are HIV-positive, a lot of them are not as worried about getting something else."
To address the rise in syphilis infections, the Miami-Dade Health Department has produced three new syphilis awareness and prevention ads targeting gay men in the region, one of which addresses the specific transmission risks associated with oral sex.