Syphilis Emergency – April 2015
As noted in our alert above, we are seeing a sharp increase in syphilis cases at our clinic in Hartford. Cases are being recorded throughout Connecticut and across the country. We have seen cases among gay and bi men, men who have sex with men – “MSM”, women, and heterosexuals.
Syphilis is not a “gay” disease and it is not stopped by PrEP (Truvada). Condoms only provide limited protection, as the disease is spread via skin-to-skin contact with infected sores (chancres).
Many have these sores internally – so people don’t even know they’re infected. The disease can cause a painless rash on the trunk (chest and abdomen) that lasts a few weeks, and can cause a painless, non-itchy rash on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet.
Not everyone has symptoms – the only way to know if you’re infected is to GET TESTED.
These symptoms resolve on their own in most cases, but you are still infected. Without treatment, the disease can progress to the brain and can cause mental health issues, auditory and visual disturbances, and worse.
For those living with HIV – the disease can progress more quickly and symptoms can be more severe.
The Good News
Unlike HIV or Herpes, syphilis is curable in almost all cases with the antibiotic penicillin (bicillin).
It’s easy to get tested! We draw your blood and send it to the lab, where they test for syphilis using tests called VDRL and TP-PA. We get the results back and let you know if you have syphilis or not. If you do, you come in for a shot of antibiotics!
We do not charge for antibiotic treatment, or testing for those who can’t afford it.
You don’t need an appointment to get tested either. Feel free to drop by our regular drop-in clinic night, Mondays and Thursdays 6-8pm at our Broad Street location (1841 Broad Street, right near Trinity College Ice Skating rink).