New Zealand: Syphilis infection rates almost double

The annual number of gay and bisexual men who have contracted infectious syphilis has almost doubled, prompting a call for DHBs to make sexual health a higher priority. Sexual Health Clinics have reported a rise from 81 cases of infectious syphilis last year to 141, with 86 percent of all 2014 cases found in gay and bisexual men.

Auckland’s infection rate has more than doubled over this period, with numbers rising from 41 cases of syphilis to 85. Further south, Waikato has also seen a large increase in infection from 6 to 16 cases.

Dr Peter Sexton of the Gay Men’s Sexual Health research group at the University of Auckland says, “Syphilis will continue to spread and risks becoming a serious endemic problem unless DHBs are required to make sexual health a higher priority.”

A marked increase in infectious syphilis cases has continued in Auckland in 2015 and Saxton says Auckland and other DHBs need to develop and implement syphilis outbreak plans.  Read more via Gay NZ