Syphilis cases among gay and bisexual men in Hillsborough County, Fla., a region that includes the city of Tampa, are up threefold over the past year, The Tampa Tribune reports. The increase has led health officials in the county to alert doctors about the risk of syphilis infection among their gay and bisexual patients.
The trend is "something that was seen over a year ago, starting in San Francisco," said Keith Rosenbach, director of the Hillsborough County Health Department's communicable disease division. "It's affecting us here too."
To reach men who are most at risk, the health department is sending public health investigators into bars and other venues where gay men gather to provide safer-sex information. An Internet bulletin board also is being considered, according to health officials.