ATLANTA, Georgia, August 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that minority homosexual and bisexual men account for a disproportionate number of new syphilis cases. About 15% of people with untreated syphilis eventually develop long-term complications, including damage to the brain, nerves, heart and blood vessels that can prove fatal.

The national syphilis rate hit an all-time low of 2.1 cases per 100,000 people in 2000, but using data from 27 states, the CDC observed a rising U.S. syphilis rate largely among men. In 2009, the rate among men was just under 8 cases per 100,000 versus 1.4 cases per 100,000 women.

CDC researchers found that between 2005 and 2008, the syphilis rate among African-American homosexual and bisexual men rose at an 8-times faster rate compared with their Caucasian counterparts. The 2008 syphilis rate among African-American homosexual and bisexual men was 19 per 100,000.

Hispanic homosexual and bisexual men had more than twice the increase of Caucasian men. The 2008 syphilis rate among Hispanic men was just over 7 per 100,000 and among Caucasian men 4 per 100,000.

In addition, the CDC noted a shift in the age group most affected by syphilis. Reuters published news that while ten years ago, outbreaks of the STD were largely reported among homosexual and bisexual men in their 30s, “since 2005 teenagers and men in their 20s have shown the biggest increase in syphilis cases”. In 2008, “20- to 29-year-olds had the highest rate at around 12 cases per 100,000.”

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Arthur Goldberg of JONAH, a non-profit international organization dedicated to educating the Jewish community about the social, cultural, and emotional factors which lead to same-sex attractions, highlighted the essence of the disproportionately rising U.S. syphilis rate among minority homosexual and bisexual men. He commented, “Unfortunately the lack of education within the minority communities concerning the alternatives for healing and the ability to change homosexual ideation is primarily responsible for this spike.”

“Citizens need to be given the information as to options about sexuality,” Goldberg continued. “Equal access to ‘ex-gay’ information is essential.”

LSN writer/editor Kathleen Gilbert contributed to this story.