Report: Syphilis on the Rise

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A decade after almost being eliminated, syphilis is back on the rise in the United States. According to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the efforts to lower the disease  in heterosexual communities have not worked as well in the LGBT community.

In a statement, Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, said: “We’ve got to re-evaluate and look at new approaches that we can use to drive these rates down.”

The center is worried the rise in syphilis cases can lead to a potential increase in HIV cases. Bolan said syphilis is rarely fatal, but can lead to further health problems, such as blindness and stroke within men. The CDC reported the U.S. syphilis rate in 2013 was 5.3 cases per 100,000 people, more than twice the all-time low of 2.1 cases per 100,000 people in 2000.

The majority of patients with the treatable disease were men who had sex with other men. The number of U.S. syphilis cases reported nearly doubled as well, from 8,724 to 16,663 from 2005 to 2013.

Men overall accounted for 91 percent of all syphilis cases in 2013. The syphilis rates in women fell from 1.5 cases per 100,000 people in 2008 to 0.9 cases per 100,000 people in 2013. The CDC said the decrease is catered to a lowered rate of syphilis cases in African-American women.