The number of babies born with syphilis has soared by 1100% over the last decade. People who are infected while pregnant can transmit the infection to their infants in the womb. These cases can result in stillbirth, miscarriage and long term health challenges for the child. Researchers found that about 9 in 10 of these infant infections could have been avoided if timely testing and treatment had occurred.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges physicians to begin syphilis treatment as soon as a pregnant individual tests positive, as opposed to waiting for a second positive test. Health officials also recommend the expansion of transportation services for pregnant women, as a lack of reliable transportation remains a major barrier for too many Americans. Inadequate, or complete lack of, health insurance also prevents millions of people from accessing proper prenatal care. In addition the CDC recognized the importance of rapid STD tests that can be given outside medical practices, in settings such as health clinics, needle exchange programs, and emergency rooms. At the same time, the CDC recognizes that congressional funding for these programs has disappeared, reflecting “a failure of the US healthcare system”.