People at high risk of syphilis, including men who have sex with men (MSM) and people with HIV, should get tested for the sexually transmitted infection (STI) every three months, USA Today reports. This is according to revised syphilis screening recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which last issued such guidelines for nonpregnant adults in 2004.
The USPSTF published its new guidelines in the Journal of the American Medical Association after reviewing evidence on syphilis testing for asymptomatic, nonpregnant adults and adolescents, including those with other STIs, including HIV. The group found “convincing evidence” that syphilis testing among these groups provides a “substantial benefit.”
Syphilis, if left untreated, can progress to late-stage disease in about 15 percent of cases, leading to inflammatory lesions throughout the body. These lesions can lead to cardiovascular or organ dysfunction. The STI can also facilitate HIV transmission.
Approximately 20,000 U.S. residents were diagnosed with syphilis in 2014. MSM drove a 10 percent rise in the U.S. syphilis diagnosis rate between 2012 and 2013. That group drove an 11.1 increase in the rate between 2011 and 2012. Among MSM, the 2014 syphilis diagnosis rate was 10.4 percent for those living with HIV and 3.5 percent for HIV-negative individuals.
To read the JAMA report, click here.
To read the USA Today article, click here.