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State Health Officials Call For STD Education, Testing
Updated April 10, 2017 11:13 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - April is STD Awareness Month, and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging healthcare providers to educate patients about their risks of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea amid a national increase in cases.

The number of infectious syphilis cases in Indiana rose 70 percent between 2014 and 2015, and preliminary data show a 15.9 percent increase from 2015 to 2016. Cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia also have increased.

"The surge in these preventable and often serious infections is troubling," said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. "I urge all healthcare providers to discuss risk factors with their patients and pursue testing and treatment so we can prevent additional cases."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking patients and providers across the U.S. to be diligent about STD testing and treatment. The CDC recommends that all patients who test positive for syphilis also be tested for HIV.
Syphilis is most infectious in its primary and secondary stages, but anyone with untreated syphilis of less than one year's duration is considered able to transmit the infection. In its primary stage, syphilis causes painless sores at the site of infection. As the disease progresses to the secondary stage, it can cause rashes, hair loss, fever, muscle aches and weight loss. Many people infected with syphilis do not notice the early symptoms.

Untreated syphilis can lead to serious complications, such as infections of the nervous system, heart and bone, or be fatal. Untreated cases in pregnant women can result in miscarriage or stillbirth, preterm or low-birth-weight babies, bone deformities, deafness, seizures and other symptoms. Women diagnosed with syphilis during pregnancy should receive treatment at least 30 days prior to delivery to effectively treat the baby. Indiana law requires physicians to test all women for syphilis when they become pregnant and to retest those at high risk for infection during the last trimester.

For more information about syphilis, go to

Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at for important health and safety information, or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at

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