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Medical News and Perspectives
February 26, 2003

Syphilis Outbreak Sparks Concerns

JAMA. 2003;289(8):974. doi:10.1001/jama.289.8.974

A 55% increase in cases of syphilis in New York City in the past year has health officials worried not only about a resurgence of the disease but also what the numbers reflect: an abandonment of safer sex practices among some gay and bisexual men.

New York City health officials reported last month that after a steady decline in cases of the sexually transmitted infection during the 1990s, newly diagnosed syphilis cases doubled between 2000 and 2001 (jumping from 117 cases to 282) and increased by another 55% (to an estimated 436 cases) in 2002. The vast majority of syphilis cases occurred in gay and bisexual men, many of whom also had preexisting HIV infection .

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