Hospital bed
File Photo (VILevi/Fotolia)

There’s a medical emergency on the rise in Milwaukee with reports that at least 125 people have been tested positive for HIV, syphilis or both. These numbers make this one of the largest sexually transmitted infection ‘clusters’ ever reported in the US, according to The Daily Mail.

It was reported on Wednesday that 125 people, the majority of whom are men, have tested positive for one or both of the diseases, with 45 percent testing positive for HIV. 

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The alarming number of cases includes as many as a dozen Milwaukee Public high school students with the majority of those infected ranging in age from 15 to 24, according to Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel. And that number is expected to increase as clinicians work to identify the partners of those exposed.

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“We are working with the health department to provide preventative information to our students as they fall within this age group and we have the unique ability to literally reach hundreds of students at one time with information that can protect their health,” MPS spokeswoman Denise Callaway told Daily Mail Online.

Health officials are scrambling to get the city-wide health issue under control. Back in December several people reported having HIV or syphilis symptoms. That’s when health officials started to notice a growing number of sexually transmitted disease reports. 

They believe the number could be higher but say people are likely scared to get tested for fear of being stigmatized.

The epidemic is being called a ‘cluster’ because health officials believe those involved could all be connected in some say or may have had contact with each other within a 12-month period, public health consultant Melissa Ugland told the Journal Sentinel.

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The city’s health department is working to inform the public through social media and tweeted: “Troubling #publichealth news, there has been an increase in new cases of HIV/Syphilis. Sadly this included infants in 2017. On March 1st, MHD launched a commuter ad campaign with MCTS to raise awareness about sexually transmitted diseases.”