In Philadelphia, the rate of primary and secondary syphilis cases was more than twice that high, at 26 cases per 100,000 people. Health experts have connected the city’s numbers in part to men who have unprotected sex with men, though the rates in women have climbed lately. Drug use and poverty also are factors.
By Tom Avril
The work is in response to a recent spike in local syphilis cases among women. APHA member Cherie Walker-Baban, program manager in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s STD Control Program, said health workers had been preparing for the possibility, as syphilis upticks often accompany addiction epidemics such as the current opioid crisis.
By Kim Krisberg
As the city has stepped up its screening efforts, it has documented more new cases, said Dr. Lenore Asbel, a medical specialist with the department.
“I don’t know if there is a substantial increase as much as there is an increase in our being able to find people who are infected,” she said.
By Darryl C. Murphy