HIV syphilis cluster found in Milwaukee
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At least 125 people — including some high school students — have contracted HIV, syphilis or both in a large cluster of young people.
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In the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Let's Stop HIV Together campaign Kelly discusses being diagnosed with HIV. Her best friend, Sy, explains how loved ones can be a positive support. Centers for Disease Control
An HIV test kit(Photo: Associated Press)
At least 125 people — including some high school students — have contracted HIV, syphilis or both in one of the largest sexually transmitted infection “clusters” discovered in Milwaukee, health care advocates confirmed to the Journal Sentinel.
Three local babies were also born with syphilis last year, health officials said.
“This is an epidemic people are not talking about enough, and it leads to people taking unnecessary risks,” said Melissa Ugland, a public health consultant who works with a number of local nonprofit organizations that focus on public health.
There has been no announcement to the general public from the Milwaukee Health Department as of Tuesday.
Fewer than 10% of the 125 people who tested positive are Milwaukee Public Schools students, but health care experts anticipate that the numbers could increase as more people come forward.
A cluster is an aggregation of disease closely grouped in time and place. This cluster was identified as such because the people in it could all be connected, and were in contact with each other during a 12-month, identifiable period, Ugland said.
Most of those in the group are men and 45% were HIV positive, Ugland and other health care advocates said.
Ugland said she did not know which school or schools were impacted by the cluster but she said it could be several.
In a statement, MPS said the Health Department informed the district that the entire city is experiencing an increase in sexually transmitted infections in young people ages 15 to 24.
"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," the statement said.
The number of those affected may grow.Read More...