Recent research indicates there is growing concern about the dramatic rise in the number of syphilis victims among the gay men community in the United States. It has been reported that syphilis is spreading rapidly among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from 2005 to 2013 the rate of syphilis increased among all ages and races/ethnicities across all regions of the U.S.
One of the problems is that many of these men don’t know their partners and syphilis is only contagious during the brief time symptoms appear. The result is that because many who already have the disease cannot identify their partners, they cannot be tested and treated.
In addition some doctors misdiagnose a little sore on the genitals as herpes rather than a sign of syphilis that needs to be treated immediately with an antibiotic. The disease is usually first seen as a painless genital sore which may disappear without leaving a scar. It also can appear on the back of the throat where it cannot easily be seen.
After a few months a secondary syphilis may appear in a variety of ways, for example a rash on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands and can also include fever, swollen lymph nodes and a sore throat. These symptoms may go away and can result in long-term complications.
The CDC also reports that many gay and bisexual men, especially those with HIV, do not use condoms consistently even when having oral sex which is an easy way for syphilis to be transmitted.
For more information visit the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.