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North Carolina is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of reported syphilis cases.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease and in the early stages, syphilis can cause sores on and in the genitals, rectum, the mouth or the lips. Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also be passed vertically - pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the babies they are carrying.

Early Syphilis Cases in North Carolina graph

Between January 2014 and December 2015, there was a 64% increase in the number of early syphilis cases reported across North Carolina. African American men who have sex with other men are being disproportionately affected. This increase continues in 2016 at a similar pace.

Additionally, the number of reported ocular syphilis cases in N.C. has been increasing and have been associated with severe clinical outcomes including visual impairment and blindness. External link

Effective treatment for syphilis is available, so it is important that people be tested for syphilis on an ongoing basis if their sexual behaviors put them at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Find out where you can be tested and receive treatment External link for syphilis or other STDs.

The sores associated with syphilis are often painless and therefore many people with infectious syphilis are unaware they are infected and can continue to spread it to others. Get more information on signs and symptoms of syphilis External link and syphilis and pregnancy. External link

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