A higher than usual rate of syphilis cases is no longer limited to the Waikato, with a surge in syphilis cases among gay and bisexual men now being reported in the Auckland region as well.
The number of syphilis cases has increased approximately 70% compared to prior year, with a large number of those cases being reported in the last couple of months. Syphilis is an STI that can cause long-term complications if not treated promptly. If a person has syphilis, they are also more likely to get HIV, so it is vital to continue to use condoms and to get tested regularly.
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 in up to 50% of cases. Free tests are available at NZAF Burnett Centre or Auckland Sexual Health Services. You can also request a syphilis test from your GP.
NZAF and Auckland Sexual Health Services urge sexually active gay and bisexual men in the Auckland area to get a free test.
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. However people without obvious sores may still pass the infection on during sexual contact.
Last month express wrote about the surge of syphilis cases which were being reported in the Waikato region.
Article | Levi Joule