I'm not sure if we are to blame COVID for this, but that seems like whatever has happened in the last couple of years, you are bound to hear "I blame COVID" at least one or two times in conversation.

Montana has seen the highest number of Syphilis cases since 1948.


Last year (2022), Montana had 602 cases of the STI, Syphilis. There was also a massive jump in congenital Syphilis with a 67% increase. These are cases where the STI is transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy.



Some people are not aware of what Syphilis is, what the symptoms are, or what medical attention is needed.

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause serious health problems if it is not treated. Syphilis is divided into primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary stages, with different signs and symptoms associated with each stage of infection. -DPHHS

There are so many different ways that infections and diseases are spread, it's essential to know how Syphilis spreads to protect yourself and your partner(s).

How Syphilis spreads:

You can get syphilis by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex from sores on or around the penis, vagina, anus, in the rectum, on the lips, or in the mouth. Syphilis can spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby.

What are some symptoms to watch for if you think you may have come in contact with an infected person?

You should know there are 4 stages of Syphilis. Primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Each stage has different signs and symptoms.

Primary:  generally has a sore or sores at the original site of infection. The sores are usually (but not always) firm, round, and painless.

Secondary: skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, and fever

Latent: there are no signs or symptoms

Tertiary: severe medical problems affecting the heart, brain, and other organs

If you don't get treated for Syphilis, it can and will most likely spread throughout other parts of your body.

Untreated syphilis can spread to the brain, the nervous system, or the eye during any of the stages described above. Without the right treatment, your infection will move to the latent and possibly tertiary stages. -DPHHS

For more information and testing sites, visit DPHHS's official website. Keep yourself, your baby, and your partner(s) safe, and get tested.


CC: Montana Department of Health and Human Services, KBZK

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Always remember to protect yourself and get tested frequently. Talk about your sexual history with any new partners and play it safe.

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