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There were 628 cases of congenital syphilis among newborns reported in 2016, with more than 40 deaths and severe health complications among the babies who survived.“For the first time in many years, we are now seeing more cases of babies born with congenital syphilis than babies born with HIV,” said Harvey.Secondary syphilis is the most contagious form of the disease, according to the CDC.While all of these can be cured by antibiotics, many people go undiagnosed and untreated.It’s called the “Great Pretender,” because the symptoms of syphilis which include rashes and chancres, or sores, fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, headaches, muscles aches and fatigue, mimic other diseases.As the disease progresses, the symptoms go away, and progress silently to it’s most deadly stage.

It’s an unconscionable situation in America today.” “This is a completely preventable problem,” agreed Bolan.

The coalition represents state, local and territorial health departments who focus on preventing STDs.

“If not treated, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis can have serious consequences, such as infertility, neurological issues, and an increased risk for HIV,” said Harvey. It’s caused by the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis, and like most STDs, is easily transmitted by all forms of sexual activity — oral, vaginal or anal — as well as during childbirth.

“We need to get the word out that everyone needs a yearly checkup.

And we need to re-educate physicians to look for signs of such ‘ancient’ diseases as syphilis.” But an even bigger issue to overcome, Harvey said, is the embarrassment of having an STD.

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