Syphilis ‘back with a vengeance’

Stuff.co.nz 9 March 2013
Syphilis fuelled by iPhone applications such as Grindr have “come back with a vengeance” among Christchurch’s young homosexual community. Sexual health physicians say the Government needs to take immediate action before the infection spreads into the heterosexual community, where it has the potential to claim the lives of unborn children. Christchurch fielded a fourfold increase in infectious syphilis from 2011 to last year and so far this year 16 people have been treated for syphilis at the city’s Sexual Health Centre – with six of those infectious. Canterbury District Health Board Sexual Health Centre physician Dr Heather Young said sexual health was “one of the most neglected hospital specialties” in New Zealand. “If there is no specific action taken, it [syphilis] has the potential for rapid spread and I fear we will be just sitting here watching a train wreck,” Young said. Infectious syphilis waned in Christchurch late last year but had “come back with a vengeance” this year. Because government funding does not cover most sexually transmitted infections (STI), treatment rests with regional health boards. Syphilis has been on the increase in New Zealand since 2003, with a rise of more than 193 per cent of cases between 2004 and 2006.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/8402842/Syphilis-back-with-a-vengeance