New diagnoses of syphilis in the UK increased eight-fold between 1997 and 2002. This study, conducted in 2002, demonstrated that 31% of clinics were not confident of their expertise to obtain an adequate specimen for dark ground microscopy (DGM), and 35% were not confident of their expertise to detect treponemes on DGM. In all, 64% of clinics had observed adherence problems in HIV-positive patients treated with parenteral regimens, as against 42% with oral regimens. Also, 51% of clinics waited more than a week for the results of initial serological tests for syphilis, and 88% of clinics waited more than a week for confirmatory test results. Other concerns include the failure to perform syphilis serology consistently whenever HIV-positive patients were at risk, and the widespread use of doxycycline as a therapy for syphilis in HIV-positive patients despite concerns that this is not known to be fully treponemicidal in cerebrospinal fluid.
- Sexually transmitted