The story appears on

Page A3

November 4, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Nation

Migrants linked to 'epidemic' of syphilis

CHINA is experiencing an epidemic of syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease that the country virtually wiped out in the 1960s, a senior public health official was quoted as saying yesterday.

In the WHO Bulletin, a journal produced by the World Health Organization, Chen Xiangsheng of China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention said mass migration of rural workers to the country's urban areas has been a major factor in the viral spread.

While China nearly eradicated syphilis "through a powerful campaign of propaganda, mass screening, closing brothels and providing free treatment for sex workers, the epidemic has re-emerged since the economic boom of the 1980s," the expert said.

"The areas with higher syphilis prevalence are usually places where the economy is booming but where there is also greater economic inequality, such as the southeastern coastal areas," Chen said.

Tenfold rise

The Chinese CDC's deputy director for sexually transmitted disease control said there were 278,215 officially reported syphilis infections in 2008, triple the number from 2004 and a tenfold increase over the past decade.

"On average, syphilis cases are increasing by 30 percent a year across the nation," Chen said.

Much of the rise has come from unsafe practices of migrant workers, including men who have left their wives back in their home villages and solicit sex from prostitutes who do not use condoms, he said.

Fears of stigma and a lack of privacy have also kept many patients from seeking treatment for syphilis and other sexual infections, which can make people more likely to catch and spread HIV/AIDS.

Globally, the WHO estimates there are at least 340 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections - such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis - every year among people age 15 to 49.

Infection with sexually transmitted infections can cause acute symptoms, chronic infections and delayed consequences including infertility, ectopic pregnancy and cervical cancer.

Michel Sidibe, head of the UNAIDS program, appealed in a separate WHO Bulletin article yesterday for more collaboration between work on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infection worldwide.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend