LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Syphilis Outbreak May Be Waning
After an outbreak of syphilis primarily among homosexual men earlier this year, only one new case has been reported in the last six weeks, the Los Angeles Times reports. Dr. James Haughton, the county's medical director for public health, said, "We are hoping the outbreak has peaked and is waning now." Since March, 93 syphilis cases have been reported in the county -- an alarming figure for L.A. public health officials, who normally see around 100 cases for an entire year. The outbreak also caused concern about the number of men engaging in risky behavior (Marquis, 6/8). Of the 93 reported cases so far, 53 also tested positive for HIV (Washington Times, 6/8). In April, when the outbreak had reached 52 cases, the county Board of Supervisors allocated $1.5 million in emergency funds for a safe sex campaign to raise awareness about the disease and distribute condoms. Haughton said Wednesday that the program was successful. "People are changing their behavior, or otherwise these numbers would have continued to increase," he said. The county is continuing its outreach efforts by sending a van to offer free testing at local clubs and gay bars (Los Angeles Times, 6/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.