The New Zealand AIDS foundation have reported a dramatic increase in the number of syphilis cases among gay and bisexual men in the Hamilton area. 

A surge in syphilis cases among gay and bisexual men is being reported in the Hamilton area with approximately twice as many diagnoses as last year. Syphilis is an STI that can cause long-term complications if not treated promptly. If a person has syphilis, they also become more vulnerable and more likely to get HIV, so it is vital to continue to use condoms and to get tested.

Syphilis is called ‘the great imitator’ because it has so many possible symptoms, many of which look like symptoms of other diseases. It can also have no symptoms at all. Free tests are available at Hamilton Sexual Health or NZAF. You can also request a syphilis test from your GP.


NZAF and Hamilton Sexual Health urge sexually active gay and bisexual men In the Hamilton area to get tested.

Gay and bisexual men can get syphilis by direct contact with syphilis sores during anal, vaginal or oral sex. The sores may be on the penis, anus, in the rectum, on the lips or in the mouth.

Symptoms: The first sign is a painless syphilis sore but this can easily be confused for an ingrown hair, zipper cut, or another seemingly harmless bump, which can easily go unnoticed. The sore lasts 3 to 6 weeks and heals regardless of whether or not you receive treatment.

The non-itchy body rash that develops next can show up on the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, all over your body or in just a few places. Even if you have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, you can still be infected and therefore infect others.

Article | Levi Joule