Syphilis is a progressive sexually transmitted infection showing a recent uptake in cases following a period of historically low case reports. An increase of cases reported in women of reproductive age has warranted concern due to the increased risk of syphilis-HIV coinfections and congenital syphilis transmitted during pregnancy and childbirth. Philadelphia remains an understudied region in the nationwide syphilis reemergence despite its unique social-ecological features that increase the risk of infection. A commentary on local cases compared to state and national level cases was constructed to highlight the burden of infection among women of reproductive age in Philadelphia County. Data obtained from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health was utilized to visualize local cases at all stages (2000-2020), primary and secondary stages (2000-2020), and primary and secondary stage cases by reproductive age (2003-2020) in comparison to Pennsylvania and CDC data (2015-2019). Syphilis cases showed an overall increase at all stages on the local, state, and national levels. Primary and secondary syphilis rates representing the most infectious stages were most frequently reported among women of middle reproductive age in Philadelphia at 22.2 per 100,000 in the 25-34 age group, Pennsylvania at 8.1 per 100,000 in the 30-34 age group, and CDC level data at 11.8 per 100,000 in the 25-29 age group. The increase in syphilis cases in Philadelphia is likely attributed to gaps in sexual health care utilization and access to quality reproductive health care. Detailed demographic data is needed to highlight high-risk groups to target future interventions aimed at decreasing infection rates.
Recommended CitationHampton, Isabella, "Translating Syphilis Rates Among Women of Reproductive Age in Philadelphia" (2022). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 421.