There is nothing sexy about syphilis, but unfortunately, sexually transmitted infections are a concern for all men who have sex with men, and syphilis is one of the infections that we must be aware of.
There were about 34,000 cases of syphilis in the United States in 2010 (all stages) with men who have sex with men contracting syphilis at much higher rates than heterosexual men.
Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. If the infection has not been treated, the secondary stage of syphilis will usually occur from 3 to 6 weeks after the appearance of chancres.
Wondering where the rates in your state are? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released the Syphilis Profiles for 2010. This document provides an overview of syphilis in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The data has been collected by state and local health departments and submitted to the CDC.
Syphilis has been tracked by the CDC since 1941 when the number of cases was around 600,000.
Data on other STDs is also available from the CDC.