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10:23 am
Thu June 9, 2011

CDC investigates rise in HIV and syphilis

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island is experiencing a spike in the number of gay and bi-sexual men with syphilis or HIV and the federal government is trying to figure out why.

The state department of health called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help when it noticed that the number of syphilis cases among men who have sex with men jumped from 20 to 54 in just two years.

The state has also seen an increase in HIV cases in the same community. Spokeswoman Annemarie Beardsworth says the Health Department doesn't have the resources to do the in-depth research on why this is happening, but the CDC does.

"You know we can sit around and say, we think it's because of this or we think it's because of that," she says, "But we want to have data to back up what our hypothesis is."

The CDC is in Rhode Island for the next three weeks- conducting surveys and meeting with members of the gay and bisexual community.

The health department plans to design a way to combat the problem following its research.

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