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Syphilis Cases Up in St. Louis

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Missouri state health officials are warning of a spike in the number of cases of syphilis in the St. Louis area.

A health alert from the state says there were 25 syphilis cases in the St. Louis region in the first three weeks of the year.

Joy Steele with the St. Louis Effort for AIDS says that's a huge number for such a short time.

She says many of the reported cases are in gay men.

"We have called bar owners, particularly in the gay community, and we're doing HIV and syphilis mobile testing," Steele said. "So we'll be doing, you know, screenings at bars, parks, other areas where we think there's high risk behavior occurring."

Steele says those outside of the gay community should also take note.

"They have identified a woman and several African-Americans as well, so this is crossing racial lines, gender lines, and sexual orientation lines as well," she said. "So it's important to get the information out."

Syphilis is passed through direct contact with lesions that form usually on the genitals.

Steele also says syphilis increases the chances of getting HIV/AIDS.


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