HealthDay News — All adults and teens at increased risk for syphilis should be screened for the sexually transmitted disease, a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendation says. The recommendation complements a 2009 task force recommendation that all pregnant women be screened for syphilis.

Rates of the disease in the United States are on the rise, with nearly 20,000 cases of the earliest stages of syphilis reported in 2014, the highest since 1994. “Given the rising rates of syphilis infection, clinicians should focus on screening people at increased risk,” Task Force member Francisco Garcia, MD, said in a USPSTF news release. Garcia is director and chief medical officer of the Pima County Department of Health in Tucson, Ariz., and a professor of public health at the University of Arizona.

Those at the highest risk for syphilis are men who have sex with men and people with HIV. Age, race, and local rates of syphilis infection are other factors doctors may consider when deciding which patients to screen, according to the Task Force.

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“Fortunately, in the case of syphilis, there are accurate tests available for screening and effective therapies that can cure syphilis, prevent further complications, and prevent the spread of infection,” Task Force member Ann Kurth, PhD, RN, said in the news release. Kurth is associate dean for research in the College of Global Public Health at New York University. The draft recommendation is open for public comment until Jan. 18, 2016.


1. USPSTF. Syphilis Infection in Nonpregnant Adults and Adolescents: Screening. Draft Recommendation Statement Accessed Dec. 15, 2015.