Describe provider awareness campaigns undertaken in response to syphilis epidemics among men who have sex with men (MSM).
Descriptive data from 8 cities facing MSM syphilis epidemics was compiled.
Provider awareness efforts included medical alerts, provider visits, lectures to providers on symptom recognition and treatment, and ongoing provision of syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) morbidity information through mailings, visits, and e-mail communications. Increases in private provider reporting of syphilis cases followed provider visits in Atlanta and overall provider education efforts in New York City. Decreases in reporting delays and increases in physician calls to the STD program were reported in San Francisco following provider syphilis lectures. Increases in provider participation in community action meetings followed provider awareness efforts in Houston, Chicago, and Miami.
Various methods were used to increase provider awareness of syphilis in these 8 cities. The cost and impact of these activities merits more formal evaluation to determine their contribution to syphilis control in MSM.