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LIFE SKILL

This STD is on the rise in the United States

Syphilis is a disease that has been studied extensively for many years. Since the last 20 years, this sexually transmitted illness has slowly increased. In 2019, nearly 130,000 new cases of the disease were diagnosed. In 2000, there were fewer than 6 cases. Syphilis was so rare in 2000, that public health officials believed it would be eliminated soon. Many people thought that syphilis had become a thing of the past.

Who is at Risk of Syphilis?

Syphilis is a serious disease that can affect anyone who has sexual contact. Some groups are more susceptible than others.

 

  • Men who have unprotected sexual contact with other men are more likely to develop the early stages of syphilis.
  • Women, in particular, are at risk if they use injectable drugs or methamphetamine and have sexual relations with the users.
  • Congenital syphilis is more common in mothers who are American Indian, Alaska Native, Black or Latina. This is due to a lack in access to prenatal health care that includes syphilis treatment and testing.

Why is the number of Syphilis cases on the rise?

There are many factors that could cause the number to increase. Below are some possibilities:

  • Public health programs will receive less money and resources.
  • It may be difficult to track the spread and inform people of STIs.
  • There are medications that can cause condom use to decrease.
  • Many women do not receive prenatal care.
  • Syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) have been less prominent in the media due to increased attention being paid to COVID.

Treatment of Syphilis

Penicillin G benzathine is the antibiotic used to treat Syphilis. Early treatment is important, as it will not only eradicate the germs but also undo any damage already done.

Patients with early-stage Syphilis are given the medication in a single injection. You may receive three doses over three weeks if you have advanced syphilis, or if you are not sure how long you have had it. Medical professionals use your symptoms and different tests to determine the stage of syphilis.

Your doctor may suggest you see an allergist to test for allergies to determine if penicillin G can be used safely.

Summary

If you are in a group at high risk, it’s vital that you discuss your concerns about Syphilis with your doctor. It’s best to be as informed as possible.

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