Australia: Syphilis screening program detects more early cases, decreases secondary cases in Australian MSM

A national syphilis screening program increased detection of asymptomatic infection and decreased the incidence of secondary syphilis among Australian men who have sex with men, according to findings recently published in Clinical Infectious Diseases

“Rates of syphilis among men who have sex with men (MSM) have been rising in many countries since the beginning of the 21st century and are now at the highest levels in decades in several regions,” Eric P.F. Chow, PhD, research fellow at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, and colleagues wrote. “In Australia, the National Syphilis in Gay Men Action Plan was released in 2009 and recommended frequent syphilis screening of higher risk HIV–negative as well as opt-out serological screening for syphilis with routine HIV monitoring in HIV–positive MSM. Australian guidelines recommended that all MSM be screened for syphilis at least once a year, with more frequent screening of higher risk men.”

The researchers performed serial cross-sectional analyses of 46 public sexual health clinics in Australia from 2007 to 2014, reviewing 359,313 visits. Approximately one-third of visits (32%) consisted of MSM with HIV. Read more via Healio