March 2009, Volume 39 Number 3 , p 66 - 66
CAUSED BY THE spirochete Treponema pallidum, syphilis is a genital ulcerative disease that's passed from person to person through direct contact with an infectious lesion. The number of syphilis cases in the United States has been on the rise since 2001. Between 2006 and 2007, the number of cases reported to the CDC increased 10.7%. 1
When it's diagnosed and treated early, syphilis is easily cured and the patient is likely to recover completely. Unfortunately, many people with syphilis are unaware that they have the disease because signs and symptoms may not be easy to recognize. In the meantime, they can spread the disease to others. If left untreated, late-stage syphilis can damage the brain, nerves, heart, blood vessels, eyes, liver, bones, and joints. Sometimes fatal, syphilis can also facilitate the transmission of HIV. 1,2
Anyone who's sexually active can get syphilis, ...