Canadian health officials worry about spread of syphilis
Canadian health officials are concerned about new data showing that syphilis is on the rise in Nova Scotia, particularly among gay and bisexual men in the province, The Halifax Daily News reports. Health officials first noticed a small cluster of syphilis infections among gay men in 2003, but the number climbed to 13 cases in 2004. All of the new syphilis cases in the province in 2004 were reported in men who self-identified as gay. "We do have a significant outbreak of syphilis, and this is not unique to Halifax. In the last few years there have been outbreaks of syphilis in most major urban centers across Canada," Robert Strang, medical officer of health for Capital Health, told the Daily News. Strang and other health officials worry that the increase in syphilis cases could signal that high-risk sexual behaviors are becoming more common, which also could lead to the spread of HIV. Capital Health, doctors, public health experts, gay groups, and AIDS organizations plan to meet later this month in Nova Scotia to discuss how to raise awareness of the sexually transmitted disease in the province.