Syphilis cases on the rise as states lose federal prevention funding

By Greg Hahne
Associated Press
Published: Monday, October 30, 2023 - 2:38pm

As a part of the national debt limit deal earlier this year in Congress, state and local health departments lost the last two years of a federal billion dollar investment to prevent and treat sexually transmitted diseases. 

This happened as syphilis cases across the country have rapidly risen.

Syphilis cases approached 177,000 cases in 2021, a 31% increase from the year before. 

While men who have sex with men are disproportionately impacted by the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointed to the rise in rates of mothers passing syphilis to babies during birth.

Arizona has the highest rate of congenital syphilis in the nation at about 232 cases per 100,000. 

Rebecca Scranton is with the Arizona Department of Health Services. 

She says the federal funding helped pull the department out of a backlog and that it will look into preserving unspent grant money.

Health + Medicine