Syphilis is one of the common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) caused by a bacteria called Treponema pallidum. Easily transmitted through having unprotected sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex, syphilis has managed to affect millions of people globally. The first symptom of the syphilis cases all seems to be a small, painless sore which makes it easy for us to ignore, increasing the risk of spreading the disease even further.
Since syphilis can cause various complications – from mild to more severe, it represents a priority when it comes to treating it and preventing it in time. It is especially dangerous for women, with a focus on pregnant women among which syphilis easily leads to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and the infection is transmitted from the infected mother to the little one in the womb.
Unfortunately, although we have seen the rate of syphilis declining among women back in 2016 in the US, the rate among men, especially among men who engage in sexual intercourse with other men, has only been increasing. In 2016, there have been about 88,000 new cases of syphilis in the US. According to the latest statistical data from 2018, we have been faced with yet another increase in new syphilis cases among both women and men.
Syphilis seems to have sneaked up on the people living in the US
In 2018, the overall rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the US have increased, for the fifth year in a row, that is. The most common STDs have been syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, some of them even appearing in combinations with each other, which is horrifying enough.
What we are interested the most in today are the rates of syphilis, especially primary and secondary syphilis which are considered to be the disease’s most infectious stages. From 2017 to 2018, there has been a 14.7 percent increase in new syphilis cases. But if we look a bit further in the past, like 2014, we would see a horrifying increase of 71.4 percent.
The total number of new syphilis cases – primary and secondary, that is, in 2018 in the US, has been approximately 35,063, according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC). The highest incidence has been reported in the West, followed by the South parts of the US.
Unfortunately, adults have not been the only victims of the increased syphilis rates back in 2018. A rise in the rates of congenital syphilis has been reported by the CDC as well. There have been 1,306 cases of congenital syphilis in 2018. That pointed out to a 185 percent increase in the rates of congenital syphilis since 2014.
Five countries in the US have accounted for 70 percent of the congenital syphilis cases with that being Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, and Louisiana. Congenital syphilis can later cause neurological problems, deformity, and even death – all of which are severe complications that we would much rather prevent than having to face them.
As risk factors for syphilis that would explain this continuous rise in its rates have been listed the following:
- Drug and/or alcohol use which may lead to risky behavior;
- Engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse;
- Having multiple sexual partners;
- Being a man engaging in sexual intercourse with other men;
- Having HIV/AIDS, etc.
Syphilis is a dangerous STI that keeps sneaking up on people, especially among those living in the US, as the latest statistical data from 2018 has demonstrated. Some truly frightening numbers have been seen over the years. A continuous increase in new syphilis cases has been noticed throughout the years, affecting more and more adults, but also newborns and children as well. This article is meant to raise awareness on the topic of proper prevention and treatment of the syphilis cases around the US, but also in the rest of the world as well.