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 icon 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 people 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 and graphics sized for social media and the web.

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 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.

Why Are We Talking About Syphilis Now?

Once near elimination, syphilis is surging in the United States. In 2018, the United States experienced the highest number and rate of reported P&S syphilis cases in 20 years.

From 2014-2018, syphilis rates increased among both males and females, in every region, and among every race/ethnicity. Men in general, and gay and bisexual men specifically, continue to face the highest levels of syphilis. In recent years, syphilis also has risen among women. One of the most disturbing trends is the continued increase in syphilis cases among babies, also known as congenital syphilis.

Syphilis Stats At-A-Glance
  • In 2000, syphilis reached historic lows in the United States.
  • In 2018, there were more than 100,000 cases of syphilis reported to CDC, with 35,063 reported cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis.

From 2014-2018:

  • Rates of P&S syphilis went up 71% overall, 61% among men, and 172.7% among women.
  • Congenital syphilis cases more than doubled.