Syphilis Cases Up in Los Angeles County
The number of syphilis cases in Los Angeles County increased by more than 40% in 2005 from the previous year, according to a county Department of Health Services report released last week, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In 2005, 1,217 new cases were reported -- nearly three times the number reported in 2001. According to the report:
- Two-thirds of new syphilis cases were among men who have sex with men;
- The number of women infected increased by 56% over 2004 rates to 139 cases;
- Cases among women accounted for 11% of new syphilis reports, with most reported in South Los Angeles; and
- Cases increased by 49% among blacks, 42% among Latinos and 29% among whites.
Peter Kerndt, director of the county DHS STI program, said the increase suggests that more people are using illicit drugs and not practicing safer sex. In addition, Kerndt said the increase in cases among women could suggest they are being infected by MSM.
County DHS is considering a public health campaign to increase syphilis awareness in Hollywood, West Hollywood and South Los Angeles (Chung, Los Angeles Times, 6/4). 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.