Syphilis is back, with the highest rates in twenty years. Anyone can be infected regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation if they are sexually active.
But it doesn’t have to be scary if you know what to do. The key is to get tested and treated. Sometimes the treatment requires only ONE visit to a health care provider!
Testing for syphilis is really important for anyone who is pregnant. It’s important to get syphilis treated early in the pregnancy and at least four weeks before delivery. That protects the health of the baby.
You can ask for syphilis screening, testing, diagnosis and treatment from your health care provider. Or you can visit your local Public Health Office (PHO) to get these services. Please call ahead as some offices require appointments or have specific service hours.
National rates of reported primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis in 2000-2001 were the lowest since reporting began in 1941. However, they have almost tripled since that time, according to the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/tables/1.htm).
Unfortunately, New Mexico is seeing the same alarming trends. Cases of syphilis increased 61% in just one year from 2015 to 2016. Our state now ranks 11th in the nation with a total of 470 cases of Primary and Secondary (P&S) syphilis.
Syphilis has grown so much nationwide and in New Mexico that we have written to clinicians across the state. You can read the letter here.
Syphilis is “the great imitator”. Symptoms can mimic rashes, herpes sores and other common symptoms. The guide to diagnosis can help you to diagnose correctly.
All cases of syphilis must be reported by both the laboratory and the diagnosing provider. You can find the confidential case report form here.
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