CDC urges new strategies in syphilis outbreak
January 15 2004 1:00 AM ET
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a report published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, calls on health departments around the country to adopt new strategies to notify partners of men who test positive for syphilis infection, including better use of the Internet. As syphilis infections continue to rise among gay and bisexual men who use the Internet to meet sex partners, health departments must adjust their efforts to promote syphilis awareness and prevention and to contact the sex partners of men newly testing positive for the sexually transmitted disease, according to the report. The study authors urge health officials to collaborate with Internet service providers to implement additional online prevention activities, including syphilis prevention messages on Web sites and in chat rooms popular with men seeking sexual partners. The report also highlights two successful case studies of programs conducted in San Francisco that used the Internet to notify partners of men testing positive for syphilis infection so that these men could be screened for the disease while in its earliest stages and before they transmitted it to others.