Intended for healthcare professionals


Syphilis and gonorrhoea cases soar in US

BMJ 2022; 378 doi: (Published 30 September 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;378:o2355
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Syphilis is surging in the US, with reported cases climbing 28% last year to 171 074, the highest in three decades, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.1 Gonorrhoea is also being reported at the highest rate seen since the early 1990s, with 696 764 cases seen 2021.

But it is the recent sharp acceleration in syphilis cases that has specialists most worried. David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, was one of several experts to voice concern about a mass of undetected syphilis cases when he told the 2022 STD Prevention Conference last week that the situation was “out of control.”

Other speakers said that habits of safe sex had loosened during the pandemic. “People are feeling liberated,” said Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University …

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