Syphilis is on the Rise Again
Syphilis rates hit an all-time high in San Francisco! Get that check-up!
Early-stage cases of syphilis increased by 25 percent in 2010 compared with the year before, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health. If only the economy could recover as quickly.
Dr. Susan Philips, the Director of the STD Prevention and Control Section of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH), said "this increase is not attributable to the disease spreading into new communities. It continues to be spread among gay, bi and trans men here."
Dr. Philips encourages our community to get tested either through our primary care doctors, City Clinic or Magnet. If someone tests positive, she stressed the importance of working with the Health Department to help notify past sexual partners to let them know they may have been exposed. (That can be a difficult conversation but what comes around goes around, right?)
According to the DPH, 60% of those who tested positive for syphilis have HIV. Syphilis can be treated and if left untreated can have severe health impacts on you and your partners.
Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth.
Genital sores (chancres) caused by syphilis make it easier to transmit and acquire HIV infection sexually. There is an estimated 2- to 5-fold increased risk of acquiring HIV if exposed to that infection when syphilis is present.
Syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages. A single intramuscular injection of penicillin, an antibiotic, will cure a person who has had syphilis for less than a year. Additional doses are needed to treat someone who has had syphilis for longer than a year.
Having syphilis once does not protect a person from getting it again. Following successful treatment, people can still be susceptible to re-infection.
more about syphilis
San Francisco Examiner article