Barely halfway through 2010, the 40 syphilis cases logged by Salt Lake County health officials have topped the 2009 total of 37, putting the county on track to double its caseload of the STD by year's end.
To address the increase, the Salt Lake Valley Health Department is reaching out to men who have sex with men with a recommendation for twice-yearly syphilis testing.
"Men engaging in sexual activity with other men need to realize this is out there," said Lynn Beltran, head of STD programs for the department.
Beltran also is concerned that the presence of syphilis lesions can increase the risk of HIV transmission among those who have unprotected sex. Syphilis has "permeated" networks of HIV-positive men who have unprotected sex with other HIV-positive men, she said.
A representative from an area AIDS service organization, the Utah AIDS Foundation (UAF), said the group has not seen a similar increase in syphilis among clients.
Testing for syphilis is available locally as part of a $65 panel of STD tests administered by the health department. Penicillin to treat infected persons and partners is free. UAF offers a syphilis blood test for $5.
Back to other news for July 2010
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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