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Syphilis rates rising among Connecticut gay men

Syphilis rates rising among Connecticut gay men

Health officials in Connecticut report that syphilis diagnoses are climbing rapidly among gay men in the state, the Greenwich Time reports. In 2004, 45 new cases of syphilis were reported in the state, a 50% increase over the previous year and more than triple the level reported in 2001. Of the 45 cases reported last year, 34 were among gay men. "It's a great concern to us," state health department sexually transmitted disease program director Heidi Jenkins told the Time. "What we're seeing with these cases are men with a lot of partners." Many of the gay men with new syphilis infections also report using crystal methamphetamine, which can lead to high-risk sexual behaviors, and half also were HIV-positive. State health officials say the rising syphilis rates are signs of safer-sex burnout and that younger gay men are engaging more frequently in unprotected sex because they don't view HIV as a serious health threat.

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