STD Policies

Federal, State, and Local Policies Regarding Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention and Control

About STD Policies

Congenital syphilis (CS) is a sexually transmitted infection that is passed from mother to infant at birth. CS is highly preventable and treatable if maternal syphilis is detected and treated early during pregnancy. However, in the United States, rates of CS have increased by 40% between 2017 and 2018, and 185% since 2014, totaling more than 1300 new cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify any aversion of the critical window to seek out prenatal care and undergo syphilis testing as a “missed opportunity” for prevention. In 2018, the most commonly missed opportunities for mothers of infants in 28.2% of CS cases nationally were a lack of timely prenatal care. In the West, 41.1% of cases lacked timely care, another critical indicator of rising incidence tied to geographic-specific conditions.

Our Work

In order to better understand the role of missed opportunities for CS prevention in the significant rise in CS cases, NNPHI is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Public Health Management Corporation on a multi-year project. This project explores potential barriers to critical health care services for women engaging in substance misuse, including fear of systems involvement and stigmatization. Additionally, it incorporates relationship building with key stakeholders, including public health departments and policymakers, to develop case studies and best practices for future implementation and CS prevention.

Resources and Links

Congenital Syphilis: What is it and how can you help?: This brief video describes congenital syphilis and the importance of prenatal care for prevention. The video also discusses opportunities for people working outside traditional healthcare settings to help their clients get prenatal care, which can improve pregnancy outcomes and prevent congenital syphilis.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact us at collaboration@nnphi.org.

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