Background and Objectives: Since 1990, rates of syphilis in the United States have steadily declined. However, the South still records disproportionately high rates of syphilis infection. Goal: The objective of this study is to describe the epidemiology of early syphilis in Houston, TX, the largest urban center in the South, in 1994 and 1995. Study Design: The study is cross-sectional and descriptive, and uses data collected by Disease Intervention Specialists on the Interview Form 73.54 from interviews with men and women diagnosed with early syphilis. Results: Early syphilis in Houston is highly concentrated in a 'belt' that extends north to south in a line just east of the city center. Although sex-specific rates of early syphilis are roughly equal, men are 3.5 times more likely than women to be diagnosed with primary syphilis, whereas women are nearly 2 times more likely than men to be diagnosed with secondary syphilis and 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with early latent syphilis. Conclusion: Routine surveillance data indicate that young, African-American men and women in Houston's inner-city neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by syphilis. Particular efforts must be made to reach women, who are detected and treated at later stages of the disease than men.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases