Indian J Sex Transm Dis Indian J Sex Transm Dis
Official Publication of the Indian Association for the Study of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Indian J Sex Transm Dis
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 43  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 165-169

Syphilis in the era of re-emergence: A 6-year retrospective study from a tertiary care center in South India

Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sarin Abdul Salam
House No. 19/204-7, Sruthi, P and T Quarters Road, Poothole P. O., Thrissur - 680 004, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijstd.ijstd_109_21

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Background: During the last several years, we have observed a rise in the number of patients with syphilis in our center. Aims: To find out the trends in the presentation of syphilis to our clinic over a 6-year period and to analyze the clinicoepidemiological features of those patients. Settings and Design: A retrospective chart review. Subjects and Methods: We analyzed the case records of all cases of syphilis registered in our sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic from October 1, 2012, to September 30, 2018. Syphilis was diagnosed based on clinical or serological evidence. We also evaluated these patients for any concomitant STI, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Statistical Analysis Used: The data were analyzed using SPSS software (version 20). Chi-square test was done for comparing categorical data, and P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: During the study period, 215 patients with STI attended our clinic. Of these, 66 (31%) patients had acquired syphilis. Among them, 3 (4.5%) had primary syphilis, 23 (34.8%) had secondary syphilis, and 40 (60.6%) had latent syphilis. Fifteen (22.7%) patients had concomitant HIV infection. A statistically significant rise in the number of cases of syphilis compared with other STIs was noted in the latter half of the study period (P = 0.001). Among the 50 males with acquired syphilis, 29 (58%) were men having sex with men (MSM), including 19 bisexual persons. Among the five antenatal cases, two were detected very late in pregnancy. Conclusions: We observed a marked increase in the number of cases of syphilis during the latter half of the study period. Primary and secondary syphilis were more frequent among MSM, suggesting a need to strengthen targeted intervention programs among them. More rigorous antenatal screening is necessary to prevent congenital syphilis.

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