Syphilis and mother-to-child syphilis on the rise

What is syphilis? Syphilis is a serious sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can hurt your body’s organs, including your heart, blood vessels, brain, nervous system and eyes.

Many more cases of syphilis More women have become infected with the syphilis infection in recent years than before. Are you one of these women?

Syphilis and you You could have a syphilis infection and not know it, because syphilis usually doesn’t hurt. You could have a small sore on your vagina, anus, lips or mouth and not notice it.

How is syphilis spread? You can get syphilis by touching your partner’s syphilis sore during any kind of sex: vaginal, anal or oral (mouth.) Syphilis sores can be on the penis, vagina, anus, lips or mouth. You may not see them.

Easy to cure! Luckily, syphilis is easy to cure with antibiotics. It’s important for both you and your partner to be treated.

If you become pregnant If you already have syphilis when you become pregnant, or get syphilis while you are pregnant, you can spread syphilis to your baby during pregnancy or at birth. This is called congenital syphilis. It’s also called mother-to-child syphilis.

See a doctor as soon as possible! If you think you may be pregnant, schedule a medical exam as soon as possible. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that the doctor will test you for syphilis and other STDs.

When are pregnant women tested for syphilis? Pregnant women are tested at their first prenatal visit. Some are re-tested during their third trimester (28-32 weeks) and when the baby is delivered.

What could happen to a baby with syphilis? An unborn baby or newborn baby infected with syphilis could:
• be stillborn (dead when born)
• die within the first month after birth
• suffer from birth defects involving the nervous system or bones
• suffer from blindness or deafness
• suffer from skin lesions (sores) and scarring
• suffer from other problems

Talking to your doctor about sex Doctors talk to all pregnant women about their sexual practices. You may be uncomfortable when this happens, but it’s important to answer the doctor’s questions truthfully. Your discussion will be confidential.

You may be asked:
• the number of partners you’ve had in the past year
• your partner’s or partners’ gender
• whether your partners are steady or casual
• whether any of your partners have other sex partners or have been in prison or have HIV
• the types of sex you’ve had (vaginal, oral or anal)
• whether you’ve had sex while taking drugs or drinking alcohol
• which methods you have used to protect yourself from STDs and HIV
• which methods you have used to prevent pregnancy
• your previous history of STDs

For more information Want to learn more about syphilis? Read more here>>

Referrals from WIC If you are on WIC and need a referral to a medical clinic or other medical provider, ask your WIC educator for information.