In response to a rise in syphilis rates in Broward County, Fla., health officials mailed 22,000 notices last week to encourage residents to get tested. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest US AIDS organization, distributed the flyers. Albert Ruiz, director of AHF’s public health division, said that although Broward County had the highest syphilis rate in the state, the county was contending with a curable disease, especially if caught and treated early. Since 2000, the county had seen a 400-percent increase in reported cases, and according to the Florida Department of Health, the county reported 613 cases in 2012. Within the first 10 days of sending out the flyers, six residents had sought out syphilis screenings at the AHF Broward Wellness Center. The center opened on September 3 and offers free testing and treatment for syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
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