Why syphilis infection dey increase
Syphilis na one of di oldest sexually transmitted infections.
E get wen di spread of di disease bin reduce, but now e don dey increase wit alarming rate.
Syphilis bin get many different names since dem first discover am for di 1490s, most of dem no fine – “di French disease”, “di Neapolitan disease”, “di Polish disease”.
One of di names sha bin gel like glue and dat one na: “di great imitator”.
Syphilis na master wey sabi imitate oda infections and e easy to miss di early symptoms.
If dem no treat am e fit cause serious palava.
Tushar, na 33-year-old project officer for Amsterdam, im bin get syphilis two times.
Im remember di first time wey im sex partner den, bin give am di news for WhatsApp.
“Dem vex no be small,” im tok. “Dem blame me but dat no bin possible sake of di window period. E bin dey strange say dem accuse me and e take some time for di mata to die.”
Tushar go do test and treatment dat week. “Pipo dey mistakenly tink say syphilis na sometin wey no get cure. Pipo no dey understand wetin e mean to still get syphilis antibodies and no get di infection.”
For April, di US release im latest informate on sexually transmitted infections (STI).
Cases of syphilis na im increase pass for di report. E rise reach 32% between 2020 and 2021to reach di highest number of di infection wey dem don report in 70 years.
Also, di outbreak no dey show any sign say e dey reduce, di Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn.
Di CDC add say e get some kain “alarming” new trends wey suddenly make di disease dey increase.
Congenital syphilis – di one wey mama dey pass give her pikin during pregnancy, most time wen she catch di disease from her partner – don rise sharply, especially for US by 32% between 2020-2021.
Di disease fit cause pikin to die for belle, die afta dem born am or live wit health problems for life.
Sotey health workers sef dey confuse.
“Fifteen or 20 years ago we bin tink say we don nearly eliminate syphilis,” Leandro Mena, director of di CDC division of sexually transmitted disease prevention, tok.
“We bin no get any doubt say we dey see increasing rates of syphilis, as we no bin see am since di past 20 years or so.”
And dis no be sometin wey dey happun only for US.
Di world bin get 7.1 million new cases for world for 2020 according to World Health Organization informate. For 2022, cases of syphilis reach dia highest for UK since 1948.
Di rise in cases na sometin wey sexual health experts don dey use till now.
“Wen I first start sexual health nursing for 2005, e bin rare to see primary syphilis, even for city centre clinic,” Jodie Crossman, co-chair of STI Foundation for UK, wia syphilis infection don jump to 8.4% between 2020 and 2021.
“Now most city-based clinics go see at least two to three patients per day dey do treatment.”
Na one bacterium called Treponema pallidum dey cause di infection and symptoms dey divided into four stages.
Di symtom na say you get sore wey no dey pain. Intramuscular dose of penicillin dey considered to be di most effective way of treating di infection. If you no treat am, however, syphilis fit lead to long-term neurological and cardiovascular diseases.
“Dis na di same tin wey dem dey see for many oda kontris around di world,” im tok.
“E dey worry becos generally, syphilis dey very easy to treat, and di treatment dey available. So, a lot of dis na reflection of public healthcare wey no dey work.”
Canada see increase of 389% and dis seriously dey higher dan oda STIs, between 2011 and 2019.
For recent years most cases of syphilis na among gay, bisexual plus oda men wey dey have sex wit men.
However, some oda part of di world dey see lesser syphilis cases among men.
Like di rates of infectious syphilis for Canada don reduce among men for example.
But at di same time di rate don increase among women not just for Canada but for di whole world and dis don increase di wey mama dey take pass am to her pikin during pregnancy.
For America continent as a whole dem get 30,000 cases of mother-to-child transmissions of syphilis for 2021, health officials say dis number dey unacceptably high”.
Transmission of syphilis during pregnancy fit cause consequences including miscarriage, stillbirth, premature births, low birth weights and even kill di pikin just as dem born am finish.
Di highest numbers na among Black America and Latino women.
“Dis dey reflect di palava of inequity and racism wey still dey for our public health and medical infrastructure,” Maria Sundaram, associate research scientist for Marshfield Clinic Research Institute for Wisconsin tok.
Di group wey vulnerable pass na women, like di ones wey don lose dia home or dey struggle wit substance abuse, na dem di disease hit pass.
“Di consequence for public health community be say di increase of STIs including syphilis fit dey connected to di STI prevention resources wey dem stop during di pandemic,” Sundaram say.
Anoda study for Kern County, California – wia for 2018, get 17% of di state congenital syphilis cases even though e bin represent only 2.3% of di state population – identify di role of immigration status, medical insurance status and sexual or domestic violence against pregnant women wey dey find prenatal care. Half of di pregnant or post-partum women wey dem interview identify as Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.
One 2020 study for Australia show say di number increase by nearly 90% from di rate wey dem record for 2015.
Dem identify about 4,000 pipo among di Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities wey be just 3.8% of di total Australia population.
And even though national test and treatment plan don happun to stabilise di epidemic, experts say to reduce am to how e bin be before di out break, dem go need to test di whole community.
“For middle of di 1990s, for beginning of anti-retroviral therapy for HIV big change bin dey,” Mena tok.
“Now, thanks to achievement wey dem don make for di prevention and treatment of HIV infection. Di risk of HIV infection no dey make pipo wear condoms or use oda prevention strategies against STIs.”
Change in sexual practice na one area wey researchers for Japan don dey study by looking at di link between dating apps and di case of syphilis.
Chiwawa say more and more sex workers no dey condoms and e no get any obligation on di part of customers to test for STIs.
If sex workers catch infection, dem dey consider say na sake of “bad luck,” Chiwawa tok. “Most of dem dey give priority to making money over risk.”
For most health officials, di way to tackle syphilis dey clear – we already get drugs to fight am as penicillin still be di best treatment even though antibiotic resistance dey increase.
More testing, better campaign to counter stigma wey dey attached to di disease plus more public awareness to encourage safer sexual practices all get big part to play.
“We be social creatures, so shame no suppose dey again say pesin fit catch STI pass say e catch cold,” Crossman tok.
“We dey try change di focus of STI testing from sometin wey dey scary and judgemental to sometin wey be part of sexual wellbeing – important part of having safe and enjoyable sex life.”
But so far, scientists don fail to reach one single conclusion on wetin dey make syphilis infection increase faster dan oda STIs. Dem no get any strong evidence to show say di strains wey dey circulate dey more dangerous, Mena tok.
Antibiotic resistance also no too common enough to explain di increase, Bogoch add.
As for am, Tushar dey kontinu to go do test evri three months.
“We suppose dey comfortable to tok about syphilis,” im tok.
“So called well-informed pipo na dem dey accused pass instead of thinking about di mata scientifically. We go get sex – stuff happuns.”