S.F. officials announce plan to combat syphilis outbreak
Health officials and community leaders in San Francisco last week announced a plan to combat the ongoing syphilis problem among the city's gay and bisexual men, which has worsened in 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. More than 750 new syphilis cases are expected to be reported in the city by the end of this year, a 50% increase over 2002 levels. Most of the new cases are among gay and bisexual men, with two thirds of the infections reported among HIV-positive men. The city's plan calls for increasing the number of syphilis testing sites, including opening one in the predominantly gay Castro section of the city; launching new syphilis awareness campaigns; and educating doctors in the area about the outbreak and the need to screen their sexually active patients for the infection.
The city earlier this year launched a Web site, at www.stdtest.org, that offered information about syphilis and provided testing information. "Many people have lost their awareness or appreciation of syphilis as a health problem," said Jeffrey Klausner, director of sexually transmitted disease control for the city's health department, of the need to expand syphilis education outreach.