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Repeat Syphilis Cases Point to Need for Comprehensive Prevention

JAMA. 2013;310(14):1438. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.278208.
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A recent data analysis in Baltimore showed that in 2010 and 2011, one-fifth of syphilis cases among men who have sex with men were repeat infections. What’s more, 86% of the men were diagnosed with HIV infection before or at the time of their most recent syphilis infection.

The data showed that of 493 syphilis cases among 460 men, 92 (20%) had a repeat infection; 77 (84%) of the 92 had 2 syphilis diagnoses during 2007 to 2011, and 15 (16%) had 3 or more diagnoses during that time. The median time between the 2 most recent diagnoses was about 18 months; 26% occurred not more than a year apart. Of the most recent diagnoses, only 5% were primary syphilis, 41% were secondary syphilis, and 53% were early latent syphilis.

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