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U.S. Syphilis Rate Grows for 7th Year in Row

Mar 29, 2008

Hi Doc, Last week some news came out about about syphilis on the rise, but what I found most disturbing is that it said it is "driven largely by cases among gay and bisexual men."

What is going on to cause this? Granted, it can't kill you but this bug should have been eradicated years ago.

And please don't blame it on George W. Bush. My wife and I and our gay son(HIV neg), are all Republicans!


"The syphilis rate among men increased 14 percent from 2006. It was six times higher than the rate among women. Men who have sex with men comprised approximately 64 percent of reported syphilis cases in 2007," he said.

The increase in the syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men is a significant health concern, Weinstock said. "Syphilis, like other STDs [sexually transmitted diseases], can increase the likelihood of HIV transmission two- to five-fold. For individuals already infected with HIV, syphilis can increase viral load, which can accelerate HIV disease progression and the potential for HIV transmission," he said.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Charles,

It is indeed true that syphilis is on the rise and that there is both an increased incidence and prevalence in men who have sex with men. There are many potential underlying reasons for this, including a decreased use of safer sexual practices resulting from "condom fatigue" and yep! you guessed it: Dubya's catastrophic abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education initiatives. The abstinence-only curriculum talks only about condom failures. It does not mention the scientifically proven reality that appropriately used condoms prevent both STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Also Bush's sex-phobic, science-phobic policies have had a disastrous effect on many targeted STD-prevention programs. When's the last time you saw an ad for condoms on network TV? Bush's policies have not created more rosy-cheeked virgins, but rather more STDs. The annual rate of new HIV infections, which has been stable for the past 15 years, is now going to be revised upward by as much as 50%!

I must also mention I find it somewhat sad that you and your wife, having a gay son, would still support the Republican agenda. You do realize Republicans do not believe your son should get married, adopt children or have equal rights. And they are actively trying to write this bigotry and discrimination into the Constitution of the United Sates! Finally, as for your gay son also being a Republican, well, I find it incomprehensible and can only hope it's only a phase he's going through. (perhaps a way of gaining or ensuring parental support?) and that enlightenment is just around the corner.

Dr. Bob

pls answer doc!!!!!!!!! won't you answer even if i beg you?
Risk of having sex

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