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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.