Chicago syphilis numbers drop
Newly diagnosed cases of primary and secondary syphilis have dropped 33% in Chicago during the first eight months of 2003, with cases among gay and bisexual men falling by about 25%, according to data from the Chicago Department of Public Health. A total of 161 syphilis cases were reported through August, down from 241 last year. Although the overall numbers of syphilis cases are declining among gay and bisexual men, the proportion of the total number of cases occurring among men who have sex with men is rising. Gay men account for about two-thirds of the city's syphilis cases reported through August 2003, but accounted for about 59% of the cases during the first eight months of 2002. "We are very pleased to see that all of our efforts around awareness, testing, and treatment are paying off," stated Christopher Brown, assistant commissioner for STD/HIV/AIDS for CDPH. "Our current success is due in large part to the effective public/private partnership we have developed to focus on the elimination of syphilis. We still have work to do, but we're going in the right direction." For more information on Chicago clinics that provide syphilis testing and related services, call (800) 243-AIDS.