Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a type of bacteria called Treponema pallidum. Syphilis has made an astounding comeback in Seattle and King County -- an 82 percent increase from 2009 to 2010, with 9 out of 10 cases showing up in gay and bi men. During the first three months of 2011 syphilis cases are double what they were this time last year.
Syphilis was almost eliminated in gay and bi men in King County in the early 1990s. Now we have more cases in a year than new diagnoses of HIV! And syphilis is 15 times higher in gay/bi men who are living with HIV than in gay/bi men who do not have HIV.
Syphilis facts from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.