Syphillis is here

In Ohio, syphilis increased 213% between 2017 and 2021. Cases are still going up. 

Syphilis is spread sexually. When more people have it, having sex becomes more risky.

There are things you can do to take care of yourself and your unborn baby. The most serious part of syphilis is when a baby is born with it (congenital syphilis). From 2020 to 2022 there was a 300% increase in congenital syphilis.

If a mother has untreated syphilis while pregnant, there is a very high chance the unborn baby will also have it. When this happens, the baby may be stillborn, die shortly after birth, or be born with serious health problems.

Prenatal care that includes frequent testing for syphilis is a must.


What is syphilis?

Most sexually transmitted diseases are caused by a virus (HIV, herpes, HPV) or a bacteria (gonorrhea, chlamydia). Syphilis is a bacterial infection.

How is it spread?

Syphilis is spread during anal, vaginal or oral sex. It can also be passed to babies during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

How can I protect myself?

The only way to be 100% safe is not to have sex. You can also make sure your partner has been tested for syphilis. Having fewer sex partners can reduce your risk. Condoms help reduce risk, but they do not stop all transmission.

What are the symptoms?

Syphilis develops in stages. The first stage is a sore on the genitals, rectum, or mouth. After the sore goes away you get a rash, usually on your hands and feet.

If you ignore these symptoms, syphilis stays in your body and starts to infect your brain, nerves, eyes and heart.

Can syphilis be treated and cured?

Yes! Syphilis is easy to get rid of. Antibiotics like penicillin will cure you from syphilis. If you have any symptoms get tested.

Some people may not notice the symptoms, so if you are having sex with multiple people it’s a good idea to get tested every 3-6 months.


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