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Study: Risky behavior likely fuels upsurge in California HIV infections

Study: Risky behavior likely fuels upsurge in California HIV infections

Risky sexual behavior is on the rise again and is the likely culprit behind rising HIV infection rates in California, particularly among gay and bisexual men, according to a study reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. State scientists and researchers at the University of California report that syphilis infection rates have increased threefold among gay men in the past few years, compared with years of steadily dropping infection rates in the 1990s. The increase in syphilis infections could be a result of rising unprotected sex rates that also could lead to new HIV infections. "We may well be on the threshold of a new upsurge in overall HIV rates, or it may already have arrived without our being aware of it," lead researcher George Lemp told the Chronicle. "We're trying to get a firmer handle on it right now." The study shows that HIV infection rates also are rising among African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans in California. Among these groups, women and men who have sex with men are the most affected. About 127,000 Californians are currently HIV-positive, according to the researchers. About 55,000 of those have progressed to an AIDS diagnosis.

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