Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.
Date issued: 9 August 2018
Issued by: Dr Brett Sutton, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease)
Issued to: Health professionals
Read the full alert: Syphilis cases continue to rise in Victoria in both men and women
- Victorian syphilis notifications continue to increase in women as well as in men who have sex with men (MSM).
- Congenital syphilis is re-emerging. It can cause serious birth defects including fetal death.
- Syphilis infection increases both susceptibility to acquiring and transmissibility of HIV infection.
- Screen all at risk groups: MSM, bisexual men and their female partners, heterosexuals with multiple sexual partners, women of reproductive age, pregnant women and those previously tested for other STIs.
- Refer pregnant women with syphilis for specialist advice and treatment.
- Contact sexual partners of syphilis cases at the time of diagnosis and test and treat for syphilis without waiting for results.
- Use long acting intramuscular penicillin formulations (benzathine penicillin). Do not use short acting formulations (e.g. benzyl penicillin) as they are ineffective.
- Educate patients about transmission (vaginal, anal and oral sex), prevention strategies (condoms greatly reduce transmission) and early symptom recognition.