MILWAUKEE (December 5, 2000) - Many gay and bisexual men lack key information about syphilis, including how to identify signs and symptoms of the sexually transmitted disease (STD), according to a study presented at the National STD Prevention Conference being held Dec. The study comes as increasing evidence - including new studies presented at the STD conference - indicates that the annual incidence of syphilis and other STDs is rising among gay men in a number of U. cities."Syphilis and other STDs that many have long forgotten continue to pose a significant health risk to gay men," said Helene Gayle, M. "Efforts to prevent sexually transmitted diseases must be revitalized and reshaped to stop this increasing toll."Based on a survey of 683 men who have sex with men (MSM) attending a gay event in Chicago, researchers found that 42.5 percent of those surveyed did not know that syphilis facilitates HIV transmission, and 52.3 percent were unaware that syphilis is increasing among gay men in some communities. H., deputy director of CDC's HIV, STD and TB programs, the findings do not imply that gay and bisexual men are less knowledgeable about syphilis than other groups at risk, but are likely indicative of a low level of understanding across the entire population.
H., director of CDC's National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP).
CDC's STD Program provides national leadership through research, policy development, and support of effective services to prevent all sexually transmitted diseases and their complications.
Rietmeijer noted that these trends coincided with the availability of effective new HIV/AIDS treatments, which may be causing some MSM to become complacent about safe sex practices. Handsfield's analysis shows that 68 MSM in King County were reported with infectious syphilis in 1999, compared to only five MSM in 1997.
MSM also represented a growing share of all syphilis cases in the county, increasing from 28 percent (five out of 18 cases) in 1997 to 84 percent (32 out of 38 cases) by the first half of 2000.
Twelve percent of HIV-negative men and 20 percent of HIV-positive men said they had used methamphetamines, and 37 percent of HIV-negative men and 53 percent of HIV-positive men said they had used amyl nitrate (commonly known as "poppers").
Increasingly, the Internet has become a focal point for more widespread communication linking potential sexual partners, a matter of concern for public health officials.
The responses indicated that 55.8 percent of partners who made contact on the Internet used condoms the last time they had anal or vaginal intercourse, compared to 40.8 percent of non-Internet partners, suggesting that while people who seek partners over the Internet do engage in STD risk behaviors, they may actually be more likely to use condoms than those who seek partners offline.
CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.These programs will address the unsafe sexual practices and complacency that have resulted, in part, from advances in treatment, and help men to establish and maintain safer behaviors over a lifetime. The study found that many MSM in the county reported having unprotected sexual intercourse, and that many were infected with an STD.Among MSM who reported having anal sex during the preceding two months, 43 percent reported either "never" or only "sometimes" using condoms.These respondents were overwhelmingly male (71.2 percent), well educated (50 percent had college degrees) and white (81.3 percent).When respondents did have Internet partners, those partners were predominantly male (63.4 percent).In that coming-of-age indie comedy, out this Friday, Offerman and Mullally play parents of separate kids who run away to build a house in the woods.