Letter from the Executive Director.
Authors: Caldwell, Katy
Simmons, Paul
Pub Date: 06/22/2012
Publication: Name: Research Initiative/Treatment Action! Publisher: The Center for AIDS: Hope & Remembrance Project Audience: General; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 The Center for AIDS: Hope & Remembrance Project ISSN: 1520-8745
Issue: Date: Summer, 2012 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 1
Accession Number: 301283135

Dear reader,

We were so close.

In 1945, the last year of World War II, syphilis prevalence in the United States topped out at 600,000 cases. By 2000, the number of cases had dropped more than 99%, to fewer than 6,000. The reduction in syphilis was so dramatic that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had actually launched a national plan to eliminate it. A disease that could trace its modern history to the French occupation of Italy in 1495 might finally be knocked out.

But just as the CDC was announcing its plan, syphilis began surging among men who have sex with men (MSM). In San Francisco, for example, the number of cases jumped from a barely detectable 44 in 1999 to 522 by 2002. By 2005, syphilis prevalence in the United States had jumped to 8,724 cases, more than 80% of which were in gay and bisexual men.

Today, the spread of syphilis among MSM, including those with HIV infection, is a topic of a conversation--and concern--among primary care providers and infectious disease specialists throughout the country. As Khalil Ghanem, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine puts it, " syphilis is a huge problem, particularly among MSM with or without HIV" (p. 29).

In this issue of RITA!, editor Mark Mascolini gives particular attention to slowing the resurgence of syphilis among people with HIV, including women and heterosexual males. He also looks at ways to prevent and control chlamydia, an often "silent" infection that significantly increases the risk of acquiring, or transmitting, HIV.

This RITA/also marks the first issue since The Center for AIDS (The CFA), RITA!'s publisher, merged with Legacy Community Health Services. The merger allows The CFA to expand its programs, reach a larger number of clients, and reduce costs, while adding value to Legacy's services. Both organizations have a long history of serving people with HIV. The merger of the two helps to keep the treatment and research needs of people living with the virus in focus as the healthcare system undergoes substantial changes.

Until there's a cure,

Katy Caldwell

Executive Director

Legacy Community Health Services

Paul Simmons

Former Executive Director

The Center for AIDS
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.