New York: Cornell University, County Warn of Jump in Syphilis Cases
April 11, 2008
In the past 12 months, there have been nine syphilis cases in Tompkins County, and at least three of the nine cases were students, faculty or staff members of Cornell University, health officials said. Between 2003 and 2006, the county averaged slightly more than one new case annually, according to the state Department of Health.
Two cases diagnosed between February and March were men who have sex with men, including one co-infected with HIV, according to a county report. Both cases used Internet sites to arrange for sex with multiple, anonymous partners. That has made contact tracing of partners more difficult, as identities are often only screen names.
There were 302 syphilis reports statewide last year, a 20 percent increase from 2006, when there were 252 cases, state figures show. "The department attributes the rise in cases to Internet-based social networking," said Jeffrey Hammond, a spokesperson for the state Department of Health.
In partnership with the state, Cornell is offering free syphilis testing to students, staff and faculty. For information, telephone 607-255-5155. County residents can get free HIV and syphilis tests at Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, 607-273-1513.
04.04.2008; Topher Sanders