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spreading rapidly among gays in Kansas City

spreading rapidly among gays in Kansas City

Health officials launch syphilis education campaign for gay and bisexual men.

Newly diagnosed syphilis cases more than doubled in 2005 in Kansas City, Mo., leading health officials to launch a new educational campaign urging safer sex, particularly among gay and bisexual men, who accounted for the majority of the new cases, The Kansas City Star reports. City health officials recorded 117 new syphilis cases in 2005, up from 53 in 2004. Gay and bisexual men accounted for more than half of the new cases diagnosed last year; 50 of the gay men diagnosed with syphilis also were coinfected with HIV.

The public awareness campaign urges gay and bisexual men to get tested for the sexually transmitted disease and to practice safer sex, particularly because an active syphilis infection dramatically increases the chances of becoming infected with or transmitting HIV. The campaign includes ads in newspapers, radio spots aimed at youth, and brochures distributed at local gay venues. One of the city's drag divas, John Koop, whose stage name is Flo, also has been recruited to talk about the STD during performances in the region. (

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