Syphilis outbreak may be waning in San Francisco
A syphilis outbreak among gay and bisexual men in San Francisco may be waning, according to data released by the city's health department, reports the Bay Area Reporter. The department's November epidemiology report shows that the number of cases of early syphilis diagnosed in the city through November was 285, down from 318 recorded during the same period in 2002. There also was an 8% drop in the number of total syphilis cases reported, including those in later stages of the disease. John Douglas, director of sexually transmitted disease prevention at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the decline may be due to increased efforts to get gay and bisexual men tested for syphilis infection and due to a public-health campaign in the city urging gay men to practice safer sex. Health officials say before the "Healthy Penis" campaign began, only about 1% of the city's gay and bisexual men had been tested for syphilis infection. Today, about half have been tested.