Syphilis rates in Vancouver are at their highest in 33 years.
Vancouver Coastal Health’s Dr. John Carsley says most affected are gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
“…that traditionally or at least in the past 10 to 15 years has been the highest risk group category. Gay men, or other men who have sex with men, and so we’re particularly interested in making sure those people get tested regularly.”
The highest rate of new infections is now in men 25 to 29 years old.
Heterosexual men and women represent seven per cent of cases.
To help address the outbreak, VCH is recommending syphilis screening for:
b. All men who have sex with men (MSM). For those who with a new, or more than one, sexual partner, repeat testing every 3-6 months. For HIV positive men who have sex with men, with a new or more than one partner, repeat every 3 months.
c. All sexual partners of cases of syphilis. This is a key strategy in outbreak control.
d. All pregnant women in the 1st trimester. Repeat in the 3rd trimester if the woman has a new sexual partner during pregnancy or is known to be at high risk.