CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News UpdateMICHIGAN: Syphilis Cases Rising in Detroit, Driven by Young Men in Their 20s
By Robin Erb
July 8, 2013
Detroit Free Press External Web Site Policy, (07.07.2013)
Detroit and state health authorities are launching a campaign to alert the public about the increase in syphilis, which is spreading among a much younger age group in the city. Health officials are planning radio- and billboard-based public awareness efforts and are working with community groups to raise awareness about testing and treatment. The city reports approximately 100 cases of primary and secondary syphilis each year, but the number is increasing. Detroit reported 123 cases in 2012 and 82 by May 31 this year. Health officials held a similar campaign in 2008 after a syphilis outbreak in Genesee County, and in 2001–2002 when Detroit had a prior increase. The recent increase is among black men in their 20s who have sex with men. The cases are not located in specific ZIP codes as before, but throughout the city. Epidemiologist Liz Shane stated that interviews failed to narrow the disease to a single individual and noted that approximately one-fourth of those infected said they met their sexual partners online. Approximately one-half of those infected with syphilis in Detroit were also diagnosed with HIV.