CDC Warns Of “Alarming” Rise In Syphilis Cases In The US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an “alarming” rise in cases of the sexually transmitted infection syphilis in the US. Syphilis cases in women climbed from 14% in 2018 to 19.5% in 2022, with 14,652 cases making up a quarter of the total cases nationwide. Men who have sex with men make up a large share, as health officials warned that the final figures for 2022 are the largest since the 1950s. "Controlling syphilis and other STIs requires robust health systems, workforces and prevention strategies that are tailored to the specific needs of affected communities. There are no shortcuts to syphilis control," said Dr Jonathan Mermin of the CDC. Syphilis rates have increased every year since 2011, with factors like substance abuse also enabling the spread of the bacteria. Mermin said, “Syphilis in the heterosexual population & drug use, particularly methamphetamine, are intersecting epidemics." The CDC’s findings noted that chlamydia cases were flat compared to 2021, while gonorrhoea rates have dropped, down 8.7% from 2021. "CDC is examining this finding closely and will be looking at final 2023 data to better understand if this signals a decline in infections, where, why and among whom the decrease occurred, with the hope we can expand on what’s working," said Dr Mermin. 102 cases of congenital syphilis were reported for every 100,000 babies born in 2022, an amount multiple times worse than in other countries.