Syphilis is back, with the highest rates in twenty years. Anyone can be infected regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation if they are sexually active.
But it doesn\’t have to be scary if you know what to do. The key is to get tested and treated. Sometimes the treatment requires only ONE visit to a health care provider!
Testing for syphilis is really important for anyone who is pregnant. It\’s important to get syphilis treated early in the pregnancy and at least four weeks before delivery. That protects the health of the baby.
You can ask for syphilis screening, testing, diagnosis and treatment from your health care provider. Or you can visit your local Public Health Office (PHO) to get these services. Please call ahead as some offices require appointments or have specific service hours.
Syphilis is a reportable sexually transmitted disease (STD) with cases tracked by NMDOH. With stark increases primary and secondary syphilis in New Mexico since 2017, the state now ranks in the top three in the nation.
Congenital syphilis - when syphilis is passed from mother to child - presents a significant public health threat because it can lead to serious birth defects, miscarriage and infant death. Congenital syphilis and these complications are entirely preventable with timely testing and treatment.
On September 29th, the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) issued a Public Health Order (PHO) mandating that all medical providers serving pregnant women follow best practices by testing all pregnant women for syphilis multiple times. All providers must follow these best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), upon consent of the patient.
There is more information in this letter to providers.
Syphilis is “the great imitator”. Symptoms can mimic rashes, herpes sores and other common symptoms. The guide to diagnosis can help you to diagnose correctly.
Chart on evaluating patients for primary and secondary syphilis
All cases of syphilis must be reported by both the laboratory and the diagnosing provider. You can find the confidential case report form here.
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