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MILWAUKEE (December 5, 2000) - Many gay and bisexual men lack key information about syphilis, including how to identify signs and symptoms of the sexually transmitted disease (STD), according to a study presented at the National STD Prevention Conference being held Dec. The study comes as increasing evidence - including new studies presented at the STD conference - indicates that the annual incidence of syphilis and other STDs is rising among gay men in a number of U. cities."Syphilis and other STDs that many have long forgotten continue to pose a significant health risk to gay men," said Helene Gayle, M. "Efforts to prevent sexually transmitted diseases must be revitalized and reshaped to stop this increasing toll."Based on a survey of 683 men who have sex with men (MSM) attending a gay event in Chicago, researchers found that 42.5 percent of those surveyed did not know that syphilis facilitates HIV transmission, and 52.3 percent were unaware that syphilis is increasing among gay men in some communities. H., deputy director of CDC's HIV, STD and TB programs, the findings do not imply that gay and bisexual men are less knowledgeable about syphilis than other groups at risk, but are likely indicative of a low level of understanding across the entire population. H., director of CDC's National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP).Most of the MSM with syphilis (73 percent) were also infect with HIV.

Valdiserri also noted that CDC is studying ways to expand access to effective prevention programs for gay and bisexual men. The men were also offered testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.

The study also found that gonorrhea and chlamydia rates among MSM in the county have increased significantly in recent years.