This week every member of Congress received a stuffed toy resembling either the syphilis or the gonorrhea viruses.
The toys were part of a campaign by the National Coalition of STD Directors in conjunction with a Congressional briefing to raise much-needed cash to fight what has become an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, and epidemic led by men who have sex with men.
Gail Bolan, director of the Center for Disease Control’s Division of STD Prevention, told a Capitol Hill event on Wednesday, “We’re concerned about high levels of syphilis among men who have sex with men — really we’re back to the level of disease — burden of disease — in gay men that we were seeing before HIV in this country.”
The CDC has been warning about this dramatic increase in STDs among homosexuals for years. A 2014 report from the CDC estimated “that nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in this country, half among young people aged 15-24, and account for almost $16 billion in healthcare costs.”
In 2014 there were 1.4 million cases of chlamydia, 350,000 cases of gonorrhea, 19,999 of primary or secondary syphilis, and 458 cases of congenital syphilis.
The report says that rates have increased among men and women, however, “men account for more than 90% of all primary and secondary syphilis cases.” Fully 83% of new cases, however, occurred among homosexual men, according to the report.
Independent research Dale O’Leary issued a report two years ago that explained the explosion in sexual disease among homosexuals is part of what researchers call a “syndemic”, a conflation of pathologies that feed off of each other, including new and rare STDs, a resugance of STDs thought long gone, drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence.