Alberta is experiencing an outbreak of syphilis. At one time, this infection was very rare, however in recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of people infected.

Syphilis doesn’t discriminate. Albertans of all ages, gender, ethnicities, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status are getting syphilis. Cases have been confirmed in people aged 14 to 84, from all walks of life.

Syphilis is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) that spreads through skin-to-skin contact with a painless sore called a chancre or a rash. This usually occurs during sex: oral, anal and vaginal. A woman who gets syphilis during pregnancy may pass it to her unborn child which may result in severe permanent complications or death.

If left untreated, syphilis can have serious consequences, like irreversible damage to internal organs, blindness or dementia.

While a condom greatly reduces your risk of contracting a STI, it doesn’t always cover the areas where sores can develop.

There is no immunity to syphilis. You can be reinfected even after you have been treated.

Syphilis infection increases the risk of acquiring incurable HIV infection.

Syphilis is easily treated and treatment is free in Alberta.