Chapter 12 – Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs)


Syphilis is relatively rare in most developed countries. However, syphilis serology is a routine test when performing a sexual health screen and in antenatal screening, and positive results (some of which may be false positives) are not uncommon. While the number of notifications is fairly stable in the general population, there is a higher prevalence in some subpopulations. These include:

Gay men and MSM – the rate of diagnosis of syphilis has increased during the past 10 years. A high proportion of MSM with syphilis are HIV positive or taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have about a 6.6-fold higher rate of diagnosis than non-Indigenous people.(21) However, rates vary widely in different communities, with more isolated communities reporting the highest rates of infection.

In 2017, only 54% of infections among men in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as compared to 94% in the non-Indigenous community.(21) One in five (21%) of infectious syphilis notifications were in people aged 15-19 years as compared to 2% in the non-indigenous population. High rates of infection are related to an epidemic of syphilis that has spread in northern Australia, starting in north Queensland in 2011, to ... Buy now


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