Health Services

Syphilis Alert

SYPHILIS ALERT

Infectious syphilis is increasing in New York State, with a 13 percent increase in New York City and a 44 percent increase in Upstate New York between 2013 and 2014. In many Central New York and Capital District counties, the number of cases has more than doubled in this period. The highest burden of cases is seen in New York City and surrounding counties. Cases are mainly among males, especially gay men and men who have sex with men. All residents of Suffolk County should be aware of the risk factors, signs, and symptoms of syphilis. Having unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, or a new sex partner can all increase the risk of syphilis infection, as well as other STDs and HIV.

Syphilis symptoms include a large painless sore at the infection site (usually genitals, can also be around the rectum, mouth, or other areas) and a rash, usually on the hands and feet. These symptoms will go away but the infection is still in the body. Syphilis increases your risk of getting HIV if you are exposed. Syphilis is easy to transmit, and many people don't have symptoms. Using condoms does reduce the risk of infection. If you are serosorting or using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV, remember that these strategies do not protect against syphilis and other STDs.

To learn more about Syphilis or to find a testing location near you, call the Suffolk County Department of Health Services at 631-854-0364 or visit GetTested.cdc.gov. You may also learn more about syphilis, by visiting http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/3807/.