Syphilis epidemic in Victoria: more primary care providers needed

3D illustration of a syphilis pathogen.
  7 June 2021  NWMPHN

Infectious syphilis has been steadily rising in Victoria over the past decade.

A record 1671 cases were reported in 2019. Of strong concern is the re-emergence of congenital syphilis since 2017. Hotspots for infections in heterosexuals of reproductive age have emerged in outer urban areas of Melbourne. There’s also a re-emergence of syphilis in gay men and other men who have sex with men.

Dr Bernard Gardiner, Lead of the Victorian HIV and Hepatitis Integrated Training And Learning program, said that not all sexually transmitted infections are symptomatic; in fact, most aren’t.

“Syphilis is infamous for being the great imitator. It presents in so many different ways.”

The Victorian Department of Health is heavily promoting the importance of getting tested for syphilis to people in the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network region.

This means large numbers of people in our region will need to be tested and receive care in coming months.

We need more primary health care practitioners to be ready to care for these patients.

Practitioners are encouraged to register for our advanced syphilis webinar on 17 June to get updated on best practice care and local referral options. The webinar provides you with the skills and resources to confidently implement guideline-based management of patients diagnosed with syphilis and to improve patient outcomes.

Webinar details

Date: Thursday, 17 June 2021
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Presenter/facilitator: Dr Melanie Bissessor, Sexual Health Physician – Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
This session is undergoing RACGP and ACRRM accreditation.

 Register now.

Watch the video below to hear about the syphilis epidemic from Dr Bernard Gardiner.