#ThisIsSad : HIV and Syphilis Outbreak In Milwaukee Includes Teens and Babies

#ThisIsSad : HIV and Syphilis Outbreak In Milwaukee Includes Teens and Babies

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photo credit: istock

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is experiencing what health officials are calling a “massive outbreak” of HIV and Syphilis in a small ‘cluster’ area of the city.  The Aids Resource Center in Milwaukee is reporting that 125 people have contracted HIV and Syphilis; and they are all connected in some way.

According to Michael Gifford, President of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, “Milwaukee unfortunately has one of the highest STD rates of any city in America.” So far only 125 people have been identified, but the number is predicted to increase.  Unfortunately, this ‘cluster’ includes a few students at the same school between the ages of 15-18, so the public school district has now gotten involved.

“Because schools have a significant number of students in the 15-18 age group, we are working with the Milwaukee Health Department, in a collaborative and preventive effort, to share information with young people in middle schools and high schools to keep them healthy and to protect their health.” 

Here are some other alarming facts regarding the HIV/Syphilis Outbreak in Milwaukee:

  • This outbreak is being reported as one of the largest sexually transmitted infection “clusters” discovered in the city.
  • Less than 10 percent of the cases in the cluster are students, but the numbers will probably increase as more people get tested
  • This cluster of people that tested positive are all connected, and were in contact with each other during a 12-month period
  • 45% of the Men tested in this cluster were HIV Positive
  • Info about which school has the kids that were infected will not be released
  • 3 babies were born within this cluster, were born with Syphilis
  • The Milwaukee Health Department released a statement that “the entire city is experiencing an increase in sexually transmitted infections in young people ages 15 to 24.”

The most disturbing part (as if the entire story isn’t disturbing) is that correlation that all of the cluster has been in contact with each other, and there is a mixture of adult men AND children.  In many towns around the United States, we are experiencing the same thing; a spike in the number of young people testing positive for HIV, and Syphilis has officially made a comeback.

The only good that can come from this is that we can use this story as a teachable moment for young kids in hopes that they abstain from sexual activity, or wrap it up (we prefer they abstain).

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