Syphilis cases rise to their highest levels since the 1950s, CDC says

  • Rate of syphilis among black women — 10.99 per 100,000
  • Rate of syphilis among white women — 1.71 per 100,000
Source: February 2022 issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

SHOTS – HEALTH NEWS – The number of syphilis cases in the U.S. is on the rise. According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases increased by nearly 80% to more than 207,000 between 2018 and 2022.

The report continued that racial and ethnic minorities are most disproportionately affected due to “long standing social inequities that often lead to health inequalities.”

Experts point to various reasons for the increase, including increases in substance abuse tied to risky sexual behavior, decrease in condom use, ongoing social and economic conditions and reduction in sexually transmitted infections (STI) services at the state and local level.

“Because STIs often do not show symptoms, and screening is necessary for timely diagnosis and treatment, changes in access to sexual health care can affect the number of infections diagnosed and reported,” the CDC said.

  • Syphilis is most often spread through sexual contact.
  • You’re at higher risk of getting syphilis if you have multiple sex partners
  • The number of cases is rising fastest in men who have sex with men (MSM). 
Sources: WebMD, Penn Medicine

Laura Bachmann, acting director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, said in an interview with NPR:

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“The stigma surrounding STIs can also keep people from seeking care, and buries the truth that all people deserve quality sexual health care.

“It also can cause issues at the provider level when it comes to talking with people about these issues.”

The CDC said that its findings signal an urgent need for a closer look at public health efforts and prevention strategies …



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