The officials from the Milwaukee Health Department have revealed that the number of syphilis cases has shot up by more than 300 percent as compared to the pre-pandemic era. State health officials have already issued a warning about rapidly increasing syphilis cases in the state. They have said that the rise in cases of syphilis is an alarming trend that might hit the epidemic levels. Health experts have said that syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. It can lead to severe damage to other parts of the body such as the brain. The disease is quite deadly for unborn infants said the experts. The officials from the State Department of Health Services have claimed that most syphilis infections take place among women who are of reproductive age. The chief medical officer, Dr. Ryan Westergaard has said that the majority of syphilis cases have been seen among people of color and non-Hispanic patients, He has claimed that a major spike in syphilis cases has been observed among women who are older than 29 years. Dr. Ryan Westergaard is also the state epidemiologist for communicable diseases with Wisconsin DHS.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard has said that many communities are medically deprived. People from these communities do not have proper access to testing, treatment, and preventive care as compared to people from the general population. He has said that racial disparity in the case of sexually transmitted diseases has been one of the major issues health experts have been dealing with for a long time. Dr. Ryan Westergaard has noted that increased risky and irresponsible sexual activities have been led by socio-economic stress that has been prevalent during the COVID19 pandemic. When people are economically desperate and deprived, they are often engaged in risky sexual behaviors such as sex without a condom, having sex with multiple or unknown partners, getting engaged in sexual activities that take place in exchange for drugs or money. Health experts have said that when the frequency of these risky sexual misconducts goes high, the rate of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases as well shoot up.
Health officials have said that they are scared that with the increase in cases of syphilis, there might be a rise in HIV cases as well down the road. Dr. Ryan Westergaard has warned that in places where clusters of syphilis are prevalent, the clusters of HIV cases might as well be prevalent in those areas. HIV and syphilis are transmitted in the same way. They are followed in the same lines of socio-economic challenges and race. The officials of the State Health Department have said that women who are pregnant should be tested twice if they reside in one of the six Wisconsin counties where caseloads are quite high. These six Wisconsin counties include Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Brown, Dane, and Winnebago, said the officials. Health authorities have advised local and state health care providers to increase their preventive and comprehensive care to help patients. Dr. Ryan Westergaard has said that access to health care plays a vital role in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. He has said that regular screening, awareness about how to have safe sexual intimacy, access to condoms are vital parameters to prevent such types of diseases.