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Gay men account
for three quarters of Chicago syphilis cases

Gay men account
for three quarters of Chicago syphilis cases

Gay and bisexual men account for 73% of Chicago's syphilis cases.

Gay and bisexual men account for nearly three quarters of newly diagnosed syphilis cases in the Chicago area, fueling an overall 41% rise in the numbers of new cases reported in 2005, the Chicago Tribune reports. A total of 418 new syphilis cases were reported last year, with 73% of them among gay and bisexual men.

The number of new cases among gay men nearly doubled between 2004 and 2005, rising from 162 cases in 2004 to 304 last year. More than half of the men who have sex with men diagnosed with syphilis reported having anonymous sex partners. One third said they met sex partners through the Internet.

Overall, new syphilis cases in the city increased from 297 in 2004 to 418 in 2005.

Will Wong, medical director for the Chicago health department, told the Tribune the high number of syphilis cases among gay men is "a big deal. The concern is, this will lead to an increase in HIV and AIDS."

The city health department is urging all sexually active city residents to be screened for syphilis and for sexually active gay men to be checked every six months. HIV-positive people who are sexually active should be screened every three months. For a list of Chicago testing locations, go online to www.gettestedchicago.com. (The Advocate)

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