The countries of America register the highest incidence of syphilis in the world

The countries of America register the highest incidence of syphilis in the world
The countries of America register the highest incidence of syphilis in the world

The countries of America register the highest incidence of syphilis in the worldwith 3.37 million cases, or 6.5 infected per thousand people), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported this Wednesday.

Although syphilis is a preventable and curable sexually transmitted bacterial disease, global cases increased by more than one million in 2022, reaching a total of eight million, that is, The American continent is home to 42% of new infections.

PAHO reported that between 2020 and 2022, new cases of syphilis among adults ages 15 to 49 They increased by 30% in America.

Inequality of access to health, one of the factors of the increase

In a report on sexually transmitted viral and infectious diseases, the UN agency attributed this increase to various factors, among which it stood out insufficient awareness about the disease; inequality in access to health services, diagnosis and treatment; and the stigma that persists around sexually transmitted diseases and often deters people from seeking medical care.

The PAHO director stated that is it possible to eliminate syphilis and congenital syphilis, but added that this “requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the high prevalence of the disease in the general population, protecting everyone.”

“Countries must reaffirm their political commitment and accelerate the pace to put an end to this preventable and curable disease,” added Jarbas Barbosa.

Screening and condom use

PAHO explained that syphilis can cause serious health problemssuch as brain and cardiovascular diseases, when it is not treated adequately and in a timely manner.

Many people with syphilis do not have or do not notice symptoms, so rapid detection tests are recommended that allow starting treatment early.

To prevent the disease, it is also recommended correct use of condom during sexual relations.

Syphilis during pregnancy and congenital

Syphilis can be transmitted during pregnancy, causing dangerous complications ranging from spontaneous abortion up to fetal deathpremature birth, low birth weight, congenital anomalies, injuries to organs such as the liver, spleen and bones, as well as neurological damage.

The PAHO study reported that cases of syphilis in pregnant women increased by 28% in the last two years on the continent, a trend that has resulted in an increase in congenital syphilis, which reached 4.98 cases per thousand live births in 2022, a total of 68,000 babies. The goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) is that these cases do not exceed 0.5 per thousand live births.

In this sense, the agency advocated for the strengthening prenatal care services, including universal syphilis testing for all pregnant women and prompt and appropriate treatment of those who test positive and their sexual partners. One of the WHO health goals is to eliminate congenital syphilis by 2030.

Expand public information

From 2015 to date, the WHO has certified to eleven countries and territories in America for eliminating transmission maternal and child risk of HIV or syphilis.

The Pan American organization urged countries to expand public awareness about syphilis, informing about transmission routes and preventive measures.

Likewise, he called them to offer rapid tests for early diagnosis and treatment timely and appropriate penicillin to those infected in order to avoid infections and possible complications.

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