By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Statistics were released yesterday by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health that show the number of syphilis cases on the rise, both in Philadelphia and across the country.

Action Wellness, formerly known as Action AIDS, has been fighting sexually transmitted diseases since the mid 80s. Executive director Kevin Burns says young people don’t remember the HIV-AIDS epidemic and how many lives were lost, and so they don’t engage in safe sex.

“Perception is part of it. I think there’s a belief that the risk around HIV has significantly decreased and that HIV is a manageable disease, which it is, and it’s a wonderful thing, but we have not done a great job educating our young folks that living with HIV is challenging and hard.”

The rate of syphilis infection in Philadelphia in 2015 was highest in the 20-to-34 year age range.

Burns believes spreading the safe sex message on social media is the next step in fighting this trend.

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