A US Government task force has issued new recommendations in the face of rising syphilis rates.
Syphilis has long plagued civilization while being particularly difficult to cure and prevent, and researchers are still searching for a viable treatment for the disease. According to a report from USA Today, rates of syphilis in the United States are on the rise, and a government health panel has just released a new set of recommendations for addressing the problem.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force issued a statement regarding the best practices for addressing syphilis in high-risk populations. According to the recommendations, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, those facing the highest risk for the disease are men with same-sex partners and people living with HIV.
The USPSTF recommended that doctors test high-risk individuals once every three months, as opposed to the previously recommended annual screening. According to Ann E. Kurth, the dean of the Yale School of Nursing and a member of the task force that issued the recommendations, “Clinicians play an important role in helping to control the rising rates of syphilis infection and should focus on screening those at increased risk.”
Syphilis is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease that has been affecting humans for centuries. If left untreated, the disease can lead to inflammatory lesions across the body, cardiovascular or organ dysfunction, blindness, paralysis and even dementia. The disease can also lead to an increased risk of transmitting or contracting HIV.
Increased screening, the task force says, poses little medical risk to high-risk patients and could make the difference between a mild and severe case of the infection. “Everyone can reduce their risk for syphilis infection by consistent and correct use of condoms, limiting sexual activity to a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who does not have syphilis,” the statement said.
A press release from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force describing the details of the recommendation can be found here.