Month: December 2007

Syphilis is back, especially among gay men with HIV

By Maria Cheng AP Medical Writer European doctors, researchers say alarming resurgence of disease once thought eradicated could be tied to “‘safe sex fatigue’ Composer Robert Schumann, pictured, and his fellow 19th Century artists poet Charles Baudelaire and painter Paul Gauguin are among those believed to have fallen victim to syphilis. Once thought to be all but eradicated, syphilis has made an alarming resurgence in Europe and the U.S. since 2000, especially among gay men with HIV. LONDON Syphilis is back: The sexually transmitted disease long associated with 19th Century bohemian life is making an alarming resurgence in Europe. “Syphilis used to be a very rare disease,” said Dr. Marita van de Laar, an expert in sexually transmitted diseases at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. “I’m not sure we can say that anymore.” Most cases of syphilis are in men, and experts point to more risky sex among gay men as the chief cause for the resurgence. But more cases are being seen among heterosexuals, both men and women, too. Syphilis was the sexual scourge of the 19th Century, and is believed to have killed artists like poet Charles Baudelaire, composer Robert Schumann, and painter Paul Gauguin. But the widespread use of penicillin in the 1950s all but wiped it out in the Western world. In the last decade, however, syphilis has unexpectedly returned, driven by...

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FDA orders lubes, condoms with N-9 to carry warnings

By Bob Roehr Contributing Writer Spermacide once thought to help prevent transmission of HIV may actually promote transmission of AIDS, other STDs Volunteer workers dress up as condoms as part of an AIDS awareness event earlier this year in Korea. The FDA has issued an ruling saying condoms containing N-9 in the U.S. must contain a warning of possible health risks. The US Food and Drug Administration has added a warning label to sexual lubricants and contraceptive products containing the spermicide nonoxynol 9 (N-9) that it may increase the risk of acquiring HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The final ruling on the warning was issued on Dec. 18. N-9 is a spermicide that is used to protect against contraception. It has been used in a variety of sexual lubricants and also applied to products like condoms and diaphragms. The original hope was that it might protect against HIV as well. But in 2000, the first research showed that N-9 was highly toxic when used in the rectum. It causes shedding of whole sheets of epithelium, the single layer of cells in the rectum and lower intestine that provide the first line of barrier defense against infections in those tissues. Subsequent research established that moderate vaginal use of products containing N-9 can irritate that tissue and lead to increased rates of HIV infection. The FDA first issued a warning...

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