According to the Auckland Regional Sexual Health Service, Approximately 80% more cases of syphilis were reported in 2015 compared to the previous year. This is in part due to the enhanced syphilis surveillance program in New Zealand sexual health clinics. The Health service says that a significant number of these infections reported are gay and bisexual men.
Dr Murray Reid, lead clinician at Auckland Sexual Health Service warns that cases in the Auckland region account for nearly two thirds of national cases. “The great majority of cases are amongst gay and bisexual men, many of whom do not have any symptoms but are being diagnosed through routine testing,” explains Dr Reid. “Syphilis is a serious disease but is treatable with antibiotics and we recommend all men with new male sexual contacts get tested for syphilis at least every six months.”
Many people do not get any symptoms and would not know they have syphilis without having a blood test. Those that have symptoms may experience genital skin sores, anal lumps or an unusual rash on the hands and feet or torso.
The infection can also be transmitted through oral sex from an infectious sexual contact. The use of condoms for anal sex will reduce the risk of transmission of syphilis and is further recommended for the prevention of HIV transmission.
If you have any concerns or think you may have been exposed to syphilis, contact your GP, Auckland Regional Sexual Health Service, or book a free and confidential test with New Zealand Aids Foundation.
Source | NZAF
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