Palm Springs Is Dealing With Syphilis
Palm Springs is being overrun with a Syphilis outbreak.
Recently, it seems that there are ten times the national average of reported cases of syphilis in Palm Springs, according to Riverside County health officials. On top of that, gay and bisexual men are the majority of cases, as KMIR reports.
“In Riverside County, the rate is about 12 cases per 100,000. In Coachella Valley that rises to 32 per 100,000, and within Palm Springs the figure is well over 100 cases per 100,000.
At 185 cases per 100,000, North Palm Springs has the highest rate of syphilis in Riverside County.”
Syphilis is a common sexually transmitted disease that has been around for centuries. Many famous people have died from the disease or complications from it such as Al Capone, gay writer Oscar Wilde, and Christopher Columbus. In fact, it was Columbus who largely spread the disease across Europe due to his explorations.
Syphilis is transmitted through sexual contact with sores and contaminated areas (as well as the sharing of needles). Even worse, condoms are useless against it.
The first physical signs of the disease show in sores around the infected area. This can be found on the penis, on the anus, and inside the mouth. After some time, the sores will go away, but the disease will stay in the body and will be contagious.
In fact, there are several stages to syphilis. First, there’s the primary stage. This is when the sores appear on the body. From there, you go to the secondary stage, which is usually indicated by a non-itchy rash. After that, you’ll reach the latent stage. During the latent stage, physical signs usually go away. In addition, the disease will begin to affect your heart and brain. Finally, you will then reach the tertiary stage. Once you’re at this point, the disease will damage your organs and could cause dementia, paralysis, and maybe even death.
That said, Syphilis is 100% curable… if it’s caught in time. Its important to catch syphilis and cure it by the latent stage. At that point, the disease may already be affecting your organs, but its not too late to stop it. Once it reaches the tertiary stage, the disease is most likely incurable and it will greatly affect your organs.
All of this is to say that you should get regularly tested for syphilis if you are engaging in gay male sex with multiple partners.
“Knowing who our partners are, using protection, limiting those partners and making sure that everybody is getting an [STI] check-up,” is the key to prevention, says Marcella Herrera-Carpenter, program coordinator for the Riverside University Health System.