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syphilis rates soar in San Francisco

syphilis rates soar in San Francisco

Half of all syphilis cases reported in San Francisco are resistant to azithromycin.

As the numbers of new syphilis cases have been steadily rising in San Francisco since 2000, so has the percentage of cases of the sexually transmitted disease that are resistant to a standard antibiotic to treat it, according to a study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. A review of syphilis cases reported at the San Francisco City Clinic since 2000 showed that the incidence of azithromycin-resistant syphilis increased from 0% of cases in 2000 to 56% in 2004. Most of the new syphilis cases reported in the city and virtually all of the drug-resistant cases occurred in gay and bisexual men.

Because more than half of San Francisco's syphilis cases are resistant to azithromycin, the researchers are urging against using the drug to treat the disease in the city and in other communities that may be seeing rising infection rates, particularly among men who have sex with men. The bacterial STD can be treated with other antibiotics. (The Advocate)

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