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CDC report shows syphilis rates are rising among gay men

CDC report shows syphilis rates are rising among gay men

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "2003 STD Surveillance Report," released Monday, shows that gonorrhea prevalence in the United States dropped nearly 5% between 2002 and 2003 to a record low level, but that chlamydia and syphilis infections are rising, with gay and bisexual men accounting for about 60% of the nation's new syphilis cases. About 70% of the new syphilis cases among gay men were reported in men also coinfected with HIV, according to the report. The CDC recorded 7,177 new syphilis cases in 2003, up from 6,862 in 2002. The increase in the number of syphilis cases among men who have sex with men worries CDC officials, who note that syphilis can make it easier to transmit or be infected with HIV because of the open sores associated with the STD. The report shows that the number of chlamydia cases in the United States increased about 5% between 2002 and 2003 but that the increase is largely due to better screening and reporting practices. The CDC says there were 877,478 cases of chlamydia reported in the United States in 2003, but the agency estimates that as many as 2 million U.S. residents--mostly women--are infected with the STD and remain undiagnosed.

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