Syphilis Cases Increasing in Metro Areas

During the past few weeks Milwaukee has seen a spike in cases of syphilis and HIV –– some among high-school students. And just as worrying, three infants have been diagnosed with syphilis as well. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to see this “cluster,” as an isolated incident; indeed, Milwaukee has seen a significant number of cases in both chlamydia and gonorrhea as well this year. Some have gone so far as to label the recent surge in HIV and syphilis cases a full-blown outbreak. Considering all this distressing news, it’s natural for sexual active people in the Milwaukee area to be concerned about their own well-being, and rightly so. Both HIV and syphilis are serious STDs that can wreak long-term damage –– especially if left untreated. With that in mind today we’re going to take a look at who’s most at risk to contract HIV and syphilis, how the two diseases are transmitted, and what your options are for testing and treatment.

Syphilis: Transmission, Signs, and Treatment

Syphilis can be transmitted through anal, oral, and vaginal sex. In that regard it isn’t unique. Additionally, mothers can pass syphilis to their unborn baby during pregnancy. In terms of signs and symptoms, syphilis typically moves through three distinct stages. The first instance of syphilis is characterized by one or more sores on the mouth, anus, vagina, or penis. It’s often small and can go unnoticed. After the sore heals, those infected with syphilis experience rashes on their palms or on the bottoms of their feet. They may also develop lesions within the mouth, anus, or vagina. Following the second stage, the disease may become latent (or inactive) before it progresses to the third and final stage. While rare, this third stage of syphilis can affect the heart, brain, nervous system and other internal organs, sometimes leading to death. Babies with syphilis are especially at risk to going deaf, or developing deformities with their teeth and noses. Therefore, it’s all the more imperative for expecting mothers to get tested at least once during pregnancy.

The good news regarding syphilis is that, because it’s a bacterial disease, it can be cured. However, before your doctor can do anything to help, you first have to recognize the problem.

Those Most at Risk for HIV

If you’ve contracted syphilis lately, you’re actually at a greater risk to get HIV than the rest of the population. While HIV, like most STDs, can be spread through a number of sexual (and some non-sexual) acts, there are several groups who should be especially wary of the disease. Gay men account for the highest proportion of HIV cases in the U.S. Note, it’s easier to spread HIV through unprotected anal sex than either vaginal or oral sex. (That is not to say it’s impossible for heterosexual couples to transmit or contract HIV. This is not the case.) In addition, those who share needles are at risk to spreading and contracting HIV. Lastly, ethnic minorities, particularly African-American men contract HIV at a higher rate than the rest of the population.
The truth is though, any sexual active person can get HIV. And because HIV symptoms can be especially difficult to diagnose in its early stages, all sexually active people in Milwaukee should seriously consider taking steps to ensure their well-being. The first such action you should take is to get tested.

A Word from Same Day STD Testing

If you’re worried about your health following a sexual encounter –– don’t wait another minute. Find the nearest testing clinic and get tested. Unlike other testing alternatives, you can rest assured that you’ll be receiving the most up-to-date and comprehensive tests at our facilities.  Results come back in 1-3 business days too!

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