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Canadian doctors alarmed over syphilis outbreak

Canadian doctors alarmed over syphilis outbreak

Canadian doctors are alarmed by the nation's five-fold increase in new syphilis cases during the past five years, raising worries that many Canadians are no longer practicing safer sex, the National Post reports. New syphilis cases nearly doubled between 2002 and 2003, while chlamydia rates increased about 70%, and gonorrhea diagnoses increased 40%. The syphilis outbreak is occurring mostly among gay and bisexual men, health officials say, leaving physicians and health experts looking for new ways to educate at-risk youths and adults about the importance of safer sex. Many Canadians have become complacent about condom use, says Paul McPherson, infectious disease specialist at Ottawa Hospital. "Across the board, we're seeing major lapses in safe sex," he told the Post. Jeff Dodds, a senior public health advisor at Health Canada's Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections Section, says that Canadians also don't realize that oral sex, while a low risk for HIV transmission, can easily spread other sexually transmitted diseases.

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