Since the discovery of the antibiotic penicillin, the incidence of syphilis in the general population has dropped, as have many other infectious diseases. But after hitting an all-time low in 2000, the rate of syphilis infection has been going up.1
Open syphilis sores provide easy access to transmit or receive HIV infection during sexual intercourse. This may be particularly important in those parts of the country, such as the southern half of the United States, where rates of both infections are high.
Syphilis without another sexually transmitted infection is now more commonly seen in adults older than 30 years of age.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2009. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats09/default.htm.
- Tramont EC (2010). Treponema pallidum (syphilis). In GL Mandell et al., eds., Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 7th ed., vol. 2, pp. 3035–3058. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
Last Revised: September 29, 2011
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