Susan Michaels-Strasser, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, ICAP’s Senior Implementation Director, argues that the resurgence of syphilis is actually a sign that it’s a fairly overlooked disease. This, she adds, is particularly frustrating because once it’s identified, syphilis is easy to treat—unlike many other STIs. Primary and secondary syphilis is usually treated with just one injection of penicillin. “It’s clear that routine testing is really really important. But it’s not done everywhere.” she adds.

The important thing, she reiterates, is to spot symptoms of the disease early, either by knowing what to look for or by getting tested by experts that do know how to recognize it. If we’re going to really start to tackle syphilis, she argues that prioritizing it will be key.

“This just hasn’t received priority like other diseases,” she says. “It’s something that people have to continue to advocate for.”

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