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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
CHINA: Guangdong Unveils Program to Battle Syphilis
Zheng Caixiong
October 1, 2012
China Daily (Beijing) (09.28.12)

The Guangdong provincial Health Department, China, has announced its Proposals to Prevent and Cure Syphilis in the Guangdong Province (2012–2020). According to the proposals, the province will fight syphilis by increasing testing for the sexually transmitted disease (STD) to bring it under control by 2015 and have the number of cases decline by 2020. STD testing will focus on sex workers, gay men, drug addicts, and other high-risk individuals. The department created the proposals to fight the annual growth of 15 to 20 percent in syphilis cases in eight years. The increase in syphilis in the province has been attributed to residents’ lack of awareness of prevention, multiple sexual partners, and a growing transient population. Also, the low use of condoms among the elderly has contributed to the increase in syphilis cases. There were 35,217 syphilis patients detected in the first eight months of 2012, compared with 31,808 in the same period of 2011. The province reported 40,410 syphilis patients in 2010 and 46,742 in 2011—an increase of 15.7 percent. The province was responsible for 11.8 percent of China’s total number of cases. Provincial center statistics show that 25 to 30 percent of sex workers in certain venues have syphilis, while 6 to 28 percent of gay men and about 0.3 to 0.5 percent of women of childbearing age are infected. Most of the persons detected with syphilis are 20 to 45 years old or over 60 years old, and they are mainly located in the prosperous cities of Dongguan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Hiangmen, and Zhongshan. Chen Jianhao, a senior dermatologist from Guangzhou Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital affiliated with Sun Yat-sen University, advised sex workers, drug addicts, gay men, and those who have more than one sexual partner to get regular syphilis examinations. He noted that most of the syphilis cases detected in the province are recessive syphilis, which poses a greater health problem as patients have no symptoms at the beginning and need a blood test to diagnose it. Jianhao continued that the best way to cure syphilis is early examination, early diagnosis, and early treatment.