The Barbados Health Ministry has reported a rise in syphilis cases in pregnant women. This is also leading to a rise in congenital syphilis cases – babies born to mothers with syphilis.
According to various studies, there were 17 cases of pregnant women diagnosed with syphilis in 2016. A preliminary analysis for 2017 shows the rate of syphilis in pregnant women will also be high.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Anton Best is responsible for the
HIV/STI Program. Best said the most effective way to combat
congenital syphilis is to detect and prevent it the condition in
pregnant women. He said the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ rules
stipulate that pregnant women should be given a syphilis screening
test during the first doctor visit and against at 28 weeks’
Best said a woman with syphilis, in the early stage, puts her baby at risk for also catching syphilis, which can happen while in utero or during delivery. He said the only surefire way to prevent congenital syphilis is for pregnant women to be screened for the STD while pregnant. Women who test positive for syphilis will be given a shot of penicillin to treat the disease.
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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are bacterial, fungal or viral infections that are spread through the engagement of sexual intercourse with anyone who has any of the STDs. These sexual infections many be spread in a variety of sexual activity asides penetrative sex, including all sexual acts involving the mouth, penis, vagina or anus. Many of these STIs can also be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, blood interactions and needle sharing among other equipment that is used in intravenous drug use. Sexually transmitted diseases are severe illnesses that usually require treatment irrespective of whether the female counterpart is pregnant or not, but in the case of pregnancies, there is a particular need to exercise more care as mothers are not the only one at risk.