2012 - 2016 West Virginia STD Surveillance
STDs by Public Health District:
Syphilis is back with a vengeance! West Virginia’s syphilis numbers have dramatically increased over the past five years and we are beginning to see congenital syphilis in our State with two probable cases identified in 2016. Historically, the spread of syphilis was once exclusively among the MSM (men having sex with men) population, but in 2016 the tables have turned and heterosexuals have become the predominant population with the higher percentage of syphilis infections.
Males (72.8%) still outnumber females (27.2%) among cases of early syphilis reported in 2016. The age group of 20 to 24 year olds shows the highest number of infections, while the ages of 20 to 34 make up approximately 59.2% of newly reported cases.
Common risk factors among all reported cases in 2016:
The consequences of untreated syphilis: may make a person more susceptible to other sexually transmitted diseases, damage the heart so severely that one may enter heart failure, cause neurological issues such as strokes and seizures, and eventually lead to blindness. Pregnant women with syphilis may pass the infection to their unborn child (congenital syphilis), which may cause skin sores, a swollen spleen or liver, rashes, jaundice and possible still birth (fetal demise). Babies who survive and are untreated may have seizures, deafness, or a number of physical deformities.
Syphilis is treatable, but subsequent testing will always be positive for the presence of antibodies. Once treated successfully, a person is no longer infectious to their partner(s) but can become re-infected and require additional treatment. There is no vaccine to prevent the spread of syphilis.
Only you can prevent the spread of syphilis:
If you are infected, abstain from sexual activity until treatment is complete and you no longer display any signs or symptoms. Please consult your treating physician.
If you think you have come into contact with an infected partner, GET TESTED and TREATED as indicated.
Complete treatment regimen(s) and follow up with a test of cure with your healthcare provider.
Be safe! If you are sexually active, request STD testing on a regular basis.