BRANTFORD, ON – The Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) is reporting a large increase in infectious syphilis cases thus far through 2021.
There have been 15 cases of infectious syphilis in Brant in 2021 compared to six cases throughout all of 2020. At this current pace, Brant is likely to see over 25 cases by the end of this year. Other jurisdictions across Canada are also reporting increasing rates of syphilis in men and women.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex and can also be passed from infected mother to infant during pregnancy or birth. Early symptoms can include genital sores, rash and headache. Syphilis is diagnosed through a simple blood test and is easily treated with penicillin or other antibiotics. If left untreated, syphilis can eventually affect the brain and nervous system.
Individuals who have new sexual partners or multiple sexual partners should use a condom for sexual activity, including vaginal, anal and oral sex, to protect against STIs. Condoms provide very effective protection against sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis, if used properly and consistently during sexual activity.
People infected with syphilis or other STIs may not have any symptoms or may attribute their symptoms to another medical condition. For this reason, regular STI screening is also an important part of stopping the spread of syphilis and other STIs. If you test positive, it is important for sexual partners to be notified to get tested and treated to prevent further spread of this disease. BCHU offers anonymous partner notification.
If you suspect you have contracted syphilis or any sexually transmitted infection, contact your primary health care provider as soon as possible for testing and assessment.