Syphilis Strikes Back

Syphilis Strikes Back

Syphilis Strikes Back is a campaign devoted exclusively to promoting the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of syphilis. While the campaign artwork was inspired by the WPA’s 1940s-era postersExternal that publicized health issues, it has been updated with current public health messages. The Syphilis Strikes Back campaign aims to raise awareness about syphilis, help healthcare providers protect their patients, and empower individuals to take charge of their health.

STD Prevention Partners: Click on the Gay and Bisexual Men or Women and Newborns box below to view a page filled with messages and helpful links that you can customize for your target audiences, including the healthcare providers who care for them. From the Campaign Materials box, you can access the complete suite of materials developed specifically for the campaign, including sample social media, graphics sized for social media and the web, a customizable article, and a widget.

What is Syphilis Again?

Syphilis is an STD that can have very serious complications when left untreated, but it is simple to cure with the right treatment.

  • It’s divided into three stages with primary and secondary (P&S) being the most infectious stages of the disease.
  • Without appropriate treatment, long-term infection can result in severe medical problems affecting the heart, brain, and other organs of the body.
  • Having syphilis also makes it easier to get HIV.
Syphilis Stats At-A-Glance
  • In 2000, syphilis reached historic lows in the United States.
  • In 2017, there were more than 100,000 cases of syphilis reported to CDC, with 30,644 reported cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis.

From 2013-2017:

  • Rates of P&S syphilis went up 73% overall, 66% among men, and 156% among women.
  • Congenital syphilis cases more than doubled.

Why Are We Talking About Syphilis Now?

Once nearing elimination, syphilis is surging in the United States. In 2017, the United States experienced the highest number and rate of reported P&S syphilis cases in more than 20 years.

From 2013-2017, syphilis rates increased in every region, a majority of age groups, and in almost every race/ethnicity. Men in general, and gay and bisexual men specifically, continue to face the highest levels of syphilis. In recent years, syphilis has also risen among women. One of the most disturbing trends is the continued increase in syphilis cases among babies, also known as congenital syphilis.