Report: Syphilis reaching epidemic status among Australia’s gay men
August 18 2005 12:00 AM ET
among gay men in Sydney, Australia, increased more than
10-fold between 1999 and 2003, leading health officials in
the nation to warn that the sexually transmitted
disease is poised to reach epidemic status among men
who have sex with men, the Australian Associated Press
reports. Only six cases of syphilis were reported in Sydney
in 1999, with the number of cases reported rising to
57 in 2003. Of the gay men diagnosed in 2003, 64%
reported having more than 10 sexual partners in the
previous six months, many of whom were met at sex clubs and
bathhouses. More than 90% of the men reported having oral
sex with casual partners, and half believed they
became infected with syphilis through oral sex. Health
officials say that while oral sex carries far lower HIV
risks than anal sex, it does carry high risks for syphilis
infection and other STDs.
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