Syphilis checks: routine for all STI checks and pregnancy

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Goodfellow Gems

Syphilis checks: routine for all STI checks and pregnancy

There is a concern in New Zealand about the number of cases of congenital syphilis, and that testing in pregnancy is not routine. There is also a low incidence of testing as part of routine sexual health checks.

The New Zealand Sexual Health Society Guideline1 recommends a test for:

  • men who have sex with men (at least annually or with every sexual health check)
  • HIV positive (with every round of HIV bloods)
  • routine antenatal screen and later in pregnancy
  • sexual contacts of someone with syphilis
  • routine sexual health check.

Signs or symptoms of infectious syphilis:

  • genital ulcer
  • men who have sex with men with any genital symptoms or rash
  • any rash affecting palms or soles of feet
  • pyrexia of unknown origin and/or persistent lymphadenopathy, alopecia, or unexplained liver function disturbance.

This Gem has been approved by Massimo Giola, Sexual Health Physician, Tauranga Hospital.


  1. NZ Sexual Health Society Guideline View here

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

As published in: