Sexual Health news - Syphilis

North Carolina residents experiencing a hike in syphilis infection

The FOX News Charlotte affiliate recently reported that there has been an increase in the prevalence of syphilis diagnoses in Mecklenburg County, and that an estimated 88 percent of these infections appear to be stemming from one demographic in particular.

According to the news source, young African American men who have sex with men (MSM) are among individuals with the highest rate of the sexually transmitted disease (STD). However, the county health department is taking measures to help lower the number of infections.

"We have to have a strategy that creates a greater community awareness of the threat of the disease, how people get sexually transmitted diseases, (and) how they can prevent it," said Mecklenburg County Health Director Wynn Mabry, quoted by the news source.

Syphilis rates in North Carolina are among the highest in the country, and it's been reported that Mecklenburg County has the highest number of infections in the state.

The news source reported that in 2008, county health officials recorded 91 cases of syphilis, a number which spiked to 175 in 2009. The rising tide of syphilis in the county took a brief dip in 2010 when rates dropped to 167, but then resumed its upward trend in 2011 when the total number of cases hit 191.

Health officials in the county are taking proactive measures against the spread of syphilis by stationing mobile STD clinics in parking lots of jails, homeless shelters and clubs.

The syphilis problem appears to not be limited to Mecklenburg County, according to statistics from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The government agency reports that there were an estimated 778 cases of syphilis reported in 2011 statewide, with some 668 of them occurring among men.