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At one point, the United States had all but eliminated syphilis, turning it into a “disease of the past,” said Bolan.
“Back in the ’40s, the advent of penicillin, which is quite effective against syphilis, allowed us to dramatically reduce cases,” she added.
“Unfortunately, STDs carry enormous stigma in this country, and it’s hard for people to come forward for treatment,” said Harvey.
“Ironically, HIV is an STD, but we have a very visible community who advocates and works to tell stories about the impact of HIV on people’s lives.
Secondary syphilis is the most contagious form of the disease, according to the CDC.
And we need to re-educate physicians to look for signs of such ‘ancient’ diseases as syphilis.” But an even bigger issue to overcome, Harvey said, is the embarrassment of having an STD.There were 628 cases of congenital syphilis among newborns reported in 2016, with more than 40 deaths and severe health complications among the babies who survived.“For the first time in many years, we are now seeing more cases of babies born with congenital syphilis than babies born with HIV,” said Harvey.To counter the problem, the CDC has recently published a provider guide for physicians and is creating a network of clinical training centers for doctors.“The fact that so many of these diseases are asymptomatic, which few tell-tale signals, mean that men and women aren’t getting into their doctor to be tested,” said Bolan.
Even traditional dating was not immune to these variances, back in the days when blind dates existed before online dating.