Send to

Choose Destination
Isr Med Assoc J. 2012 Mar;14(3):152-6.

Syphilis outbreak among men who have sex with men, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2008-2009.

Author information

Infectious Disease Unit, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel.



Outbreaks of syphilis have been described among men who have sex with men (MSM) in many western urban communities in the last few years.


To describe the first reported outbreak of syphilis among MSM in Israel within a decade of a constant increase in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence.


All patients diagnosed with syphilis were contacted and asked about their sexual behavior, substance use and previous infections. All were tested for HIV and a phylogenetic analysis was performed.


A total of 23 (59%) of all 39 male patients diagnosed with primary or secondary syphilis between August 2008 and August 2009 were interviewed. All were MSM and performed anal intercourse, while 13 (55%) reported unprotected anal intercourse. Most participants (21, 91%) practiced unprotected oral intercourse. Nine participants (39%) reported unprotected oral intercourse while using condoms during anal intercourse. Ten participants (43%) reported sexual contacts while traveling abroad in the previous few months. Most participants (96%) were co-infected with HIV, and 15 (68%) were already aware of their HIV infection. Fifteen (66%) reported the use of recreational drugs, alcohol, or both before or during sex. No common source or core transmitters were identified.


This syphilis outbreak included MSM who were co-infected with HIV and were characterized by risky sexual behavior including multiple partners, unprotected anal intercourse and substance use. Future targeted interventions should focus on HIV-infected MSM for secondary prevention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Israel Medical Association
Loading ...
Support Center