There’s been an increase in syphilis cases among gay and bisexual men in the Christchurch region, following similar trends in Auckland and Hamilton. GPs can provide full sexual health check-ups, or free tests can be booked in Christchurch at NZAF Te Toka or Christchurch Sexual Health Services. The New Zealand AIDS Foundation says average monthly syphilis cases in Christchurch have increased 100 per cent over the past 18 months. It’s encouraging gay and bisexual men to use condoms and lube for anal sex and to get tested. The NZAF says if a person has syphilis, they are also more likely to get HIV and pass it on. “It is vital to continue to use condoms and lube for anal sex because unprotected anal sex makes it easy for STIs and HIV to be passed on. Evidence shows that eight in ten gay and bisexual Kiwis use condoms for anal sex with casual partners and we encourage them to continue doing so.” It’s possible to have syphilis with no symptoms and it is also possible to pass it onto others when you don't have symptoms. Many people who have syphilis aren’t aware they have it, particularly if it’s in their throat or rectum. Syphilis can produce a painless sore on your penis, in your anus or in your mouth ten to ninety days after infection. The sore usually turns into a scab and heals after two to six weeks, but the infection remains. If left untreated, syphilis can cause damage to your nerves, bones, skin, eyes and brain. GPs can provide full sexual health check-ups, or free tests can be booked in Christchurch at NZAF Te Toka or Christchurch Sexual Health Services.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Friday, 14th August 2015 - 11:31am
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