AHF: Increase in Congenital Syphilis Underscores Need for STD Funding

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LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released statistics
this week in its latest Morbidity
and Mortality Weekly Report
showing congenital syphilis
(CS) cases increased 38% nationwide from 2012 to 2014, a sharp reversal
in national rates that steadily declined during the previous four-year
period. The report states that the rate of reported CS decreased from
10.5 to 8.4 cases per 100,000 live births during 2008–2012, and then
increased to 11.6 cases per 100,000 live births in 2014, the highest CS
rate reported since 2001.

“The federal government, state and local health departments should see
these numbers as more evidence of the need to address the STD epidemic
nationwide,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Cutting back
on funding while the need for outreach and easy access to treatment and
medical care only continues to grow is a recipe for disaster. Our
elected leaders should be doing everything they can to encourage
sexually active people to undergo regular screening for STDs at each
stage of their lives.”

According to the CDC’s November 13th report, “a
substantial percentage of CS cases are attributable to a lack of
prenatal care; even among those receiving some prenatal care, the
detection and treatment of maternal syphilis often occurs too late to
prevent CS. Health departments, in partnership with prenatal care
providers and other local organizations, should work together to address
barriers to obtaining early and adequate prenatal care for the majority
of vulnerable pregnant women. Women who are uninsured or underinsured
and women with substance use issues have been found to be at increased
risk for receiving inadequate or no prenatal care, placing them at
increased risk for CS.”

The CDC recommends that all pregnant women be screened for syphilis at
their first prenatal visit and that at-risk women living in
high-morbidity geographic areas should also be screened at the beginning
of their third trimester and again at delivery.

AHF’s Wellness Centers provide free testing for sexually transmitted
diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. To find the
nearest location for STD screening and treatment, visit www.freestdcheck.org.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
488,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

Contacts

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, work: +1-323-308-1833
Senior
Director, Communications
mobile: +1-323-791-5526
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Christopher
Johnson,
work: +1-323-960-4846
Associate Director of
Communications
mobile: +1-310-880-9913
christopher.johnson@aidshealth.org