The "SYPHILIS EXPLOSION" ads in San Francisco’s BART stations and Los Angeles billboards reflect a growing number of infections among gay men in US metro areas in the last 15 years, reports CityLab.
After the rate of infections plummeted by 90% in the US between 1990 and 2000, CDC reports increases in most years since then, including a 10% increase from 2012 to 2013. Cases in the San Francisco Bay area almost doubled in 4 years to 814 in 2013. And 15 cases of ocular syphilis that can cause blindness have been reported in California and Washington in recent months.
The declining use of condoms is likely one cause for the upsurge. A debate is emerging whether individuals who are at high-risk for acquiring HIV and taking the drug Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis are foregoing condoms.