The number of new
syphilis cases diagnosed in 2005 in Los Angeles County
rose 40% over the number of new diagnoses in 2004,
according to a report by the county health department,
the Los Angeles Times reports. Two thirds of
the new diagnoses in 2005 were among gay and bisexual
men, according to the report. A total of 1,217
syphilis cases were reported in the county in 2005, up from
865 in 2004. Men who have sex with men accounted for
809 of the new cases reported in 2005.
rose 56% among women, 49% among African-Americans, 42%
among Latinos, and 29% among whites in 2005.
say part of the reason for the increase in syphilis
diagnoses is that a $1 million syphilis awareness campaign,
called "Stop the Sores," that launched
in the county in 2002 has prompted more people at risk
for the sexually transmitted disease to seek testing for it.
Peter Kerndt, director of the county's STD program,
also told the Times it is possible bisexual men could
be contributing to the rise in infections among women
by picking up the STD from their male sex partners and
passing it to their female sex partners.
Kerndt says the
health department is considering launching a new syphilis
awareness campaign aimed at residents of Hollywood, West
Hollywood, and south Los Angeles, which are home to
large numbers of gay and bisexual men and people of
color who are at risk for the STD. (The Advocate)