Syphilis News and Research

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Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It has often been called “the great imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases.

In the United States, health officials reported over 36,000 cases of syphilis in 2006, including 9,756 cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis. In 2006, half of all P&S syphilis cases were reported from 20 counties and 2 cities; and most P&S syphilis cases occurred in persons 20 to 39 years of age. The incidence of P&S syphilis was highest in women 20 to 24 years of age and in men 35 to 39 years of age. Reported cases of congenital syphilis in newborns increased from 2005 to 2006, with 339 new cases reported in 2005 compared to 349 cases in 2006.

Between 2005 and 2006, the number of reported P&S syphilis cases increased 11.8 percent. P&S rates have increased in males each year between 2000 and 2006 from 2.6 to 5.7 and among females between 2004 and 2006. In 2006, 64% of the reported P&S syphilis cases were among men who have sex with men (MSM).

Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the babies they are carrying. Syphilis cannot be spread through contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils.
All U.S. States to begin names-based reporting of HIV cases by end of 2007

All U.S. States to begin names-based reporting of HIV cases by end of 2007

Increasing numbers of blood collection centers in parts of China contributing to spread of HIV

Increasing numbers of blood collection centers in parts of China contributing to spread of HIV

Syphilis epidemic in China

Syphilis epidemic in China

Brits "out on the pull" urged to carry condoms by government campaign

Brits "out on the pull" urged to carry condoms by government campaign

Men who pay for sex often have partners at home

Men who pay for sex often have partners at home

Literacy at less than a ninth-grade level almost doubles the five-year risk of mortality among elderly people

Literacy at less than a ninth-grade level almost doubles the five-year risk of mortality among elderly people

Government money for sexual health used to pay off debts

Government money for sexual health used to pay off debts

UK sexually transmitted infections on the rise

UK sexually transmitted infections on the rise

Syphilis, chlamydia and herpes on the rise in the UK

Syphilis, chlamydia and herpes on the rise in the UK

HIV positive women are much more likely to suffer from anaemia and high blood pressure in pregnancy

HIV positive women are much more likely to suffer from anaemia and high blood pressure in pregnancy

Syphilis on the rise in L.A. County

Syphilis on the rise in L.A. County

HIV infection more common among non-Hispanic blacks

HIV infection more common among non-Hispanic blacks

Male circumcision, HIV and other STDs

Male circumcision, HIV and other STDs

8 million children born every year with serious birth defects

8 million children born every year with serious birth defects

Kids learn about STD's when they are getting diagnosed with them

Kids learn about STD's when they are getting diagnosed with them

You've got mail and it's STD!

You've got mail and it's STD!

Syphilis on the rise in U.S. - high risk sex among men to blame

Syphilis on the rise in U.S. - high risk sex among men to blame

Dead human tissue illegally used in surgery

Dead human tissue illegally used in surgery

High rates of herpes simplex virus 2 and syphilis among young drug users in Baltimore

High rates of herpes simplex virus 2 and syphilis among young drug users in Baltimore

New Zealand moves to routinely offering antenatal HIV screening

New Zealand moves to routinely offering antenatal HIV screening