Los Angeles County Health Officials Need More Comprehensive Plan To Curb Spread of Syphilis, Editorial Says
Public health officials in Los Angeles County need to create a more comprehensive program that targets men who have sex with men, ethnic minorities and women to curb the "worrisome spike" in new syphilis cases in the county, a Los Angeles Times editorial says (Los Angeles Times, 6/9). According to a report released last week by the county Department of Health Services, the number of new syphilis cases in Los Angeles County increased by more than 40% from 2004 to 2005, after staying relatively level the previous two years. Men who have sex with men accounted for two-thirds of the new cases, according to the report. Cases among women rose 56%, from 89 in 2004 to 139 in 2005, and accounted for 11% of all new cases. The data also show that there was a 49% increase in new cases among blacks, a 42% increase among Latinos and a 29% increase among whites (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/6). The health department needs to reach women by immediately identifying those who recently were diagnosed and ensuring that they and their partners get treatment, according to the editorial. Although reducing rates among MSM might be harder, it is "vital to do so to avert a wave of new HIV infections," the editorial says, concluding that when health officials present new strategies to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors next week, the board should "find the resources to fund the plan and stem new syphilis infections" (Los Angeles Times, 6/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.