"Seventy-seven cases of syphilis have been linked to the outbreak," said Peter R. Kerndt, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Los Angeles County Sexually Transmitted Disease Program. Kerndt provided figures on April 25, shortly before this issue of Positive Living went to press.
Free screenings for syphilis at bathhouses and sex clubs are continuing. "We're going to try to keep them going as long as we can," said Kerndt. "There's so much treatable STD out there. I think we need to make it as easy as possible for people to get tested and to get treatment."
For comprehensive testing information in English and Spanish, individuals may call (800) 758-0880. Individuals can also check the Department of Health Services web site, http://phps.dhs.co.la.ca.us/std.
A county-wide media campaign to increase syphilis awareness is expected to be launched in May. Kerndt said that 900,000 condoms had been purchased and will be distributed.
The 77 syphilis cases reported to the STD program have the following characteristics:
According to the Department of Health Services, the current outbreak involves primarily individuals in Hollywood and West Hollywood. Cases in Silver Lake and Long Beach are also known.
For further news on the syphilis outbreak, see upcoming issues of Positive Living.