Sexually transmitted infections are rising in the United States. In particular, syphilis increased by 26% from 2020 to 2021, while congenital syphilis, which infects fetuses in the womb, increased by 24% rise during that time period .
Whiles syphilis can be easily treated and cured, many people who are infected are unaware of their condition as the majority of infected patients are asymptomatic . At-home testing can increase access to screening, enabling prompt identification and treatment to prevent further transmission.
Why are syphilis cases rising?
Although syphilis cases dropped to historic lows in 2000, cases have increased almost every year in the United States since then . There are various factors that have contributed to this upward trend, including a lack of investment in public health in America, the stigma surrounding sex, and screening accessibility. Public-health clinics, where people often get STI tests, are chronically underfunded and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation with many clinics reporting staffing shortages and redirected resources.
How common is syphilis?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were about 133,945 cases of syphilis in 2020 . While anyone who is sexually active can become infected, some groups may be more impacted than others. A person’s risk of infection is higher if they:
- Have unprotected sex, especially if they have several partners
- Are a man who has sex with men (MSM)
- Have HIV
- Have had sex with someone who’s tested positive for syphilis
- Tested positive for another STI, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or herpes
What is congenital syphilis?
Congenital syphilis (CS) is a disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection to her developing baby in the womb. Over the past decade, there's been about a 700% increase in cases of congenital syphilis in the United States . Without screening, timely detection, and treatment, congenital syphilis can cause life-threatening problems and even death.
Why is it important to get screened?
Without screening and treatment, an infected person will progress to the latent (hidden) stage of syphilis. During this period there are no visible signs or symptoms of the infection. It can lie dormant in the body for years or even decades before it returns in its later stages to attack the nerves, eyes, brain, and other organs, potentially leading to blindness, deafness, or even death. With screening and appropriate treatment, the effects of syphilis are fully preventable. At-home testing can help connect people to the care they need.
What are the benefits of at-home syphilis screening?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for syphilis infection in persons who are at increased risk for infection. However, stigma, lack of access to screening services, and a lack of knowledge about one’s risk may cause individuals to forgo syphilis screening.
At-home testing can meet individuals where they are, increasing access to crucial health insights so they can make informed healthcare decisions. LetsGetChecked’s at-home healthcare solutions make it easy to leverage an STI screening program to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and improve population health. Our end-to-end solution includes testing, virtual consultations, and prescription delivery for select conditions.