Sexual Health

June 2009

Up front

Sexually transmissible infections

Old enemies and a new friend

Volume 38, No.6, June 2009 Pages 373-373

Siobhan Bourke

Tina Schmidt

History is repeating itself. Syphilis largely disappeared from the radar of general practitioners following a precipitous fall with the onset of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic in the early 1980s; however, infection rates are once again rising dramatically, both in Australia and in other parts of the developed world.1 In fact, the rate of diagnosis of infectious syphilis more than doubled from 3.1 per 100 000 in 2004 to 6.6 per 100 000 in 2007. These increases occurred in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and were almost completely confined to men who have sex with men (MSM).2

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