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Ukraine In Middle Of Syphilis Epidemic

Ukraine is facing a growing epidemic of syphilis, with reported cases doubling almost yearly since the Soviet collapse, a top health official said Thursday. Children in particular were afflicted.

“Our health ministry considers Ukraine to be in the middle of a syphilis epidemic,”said Felix Rynda, a treatment specialist at the AllUkrainian Health Centre.

Last year, 35,000 cases of the venereal disease were reported - more than triple the 10,000 cases reported in 1992.

Most worrying was the escalating number of children affected with the illness. In three years alone, the number of affected girls under the age of 16 jumped eight times, and boys three times.

Rynda blames the upsurge in syphilis on social changes in Ukraine since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, including a huge increase in prostitution, drug addiction and alcoholism, as well as more liberal attitudes toward showing sex on television.