The Houston Department of Health and Human Services has documented what has been declared an outbreak of syphilis due to the increase number of new cases. Syphilis was the sexually transmitted diseases best known during WWII and the soldiers that fought. HDHHS is encouraging the public that are sexually active to get tested for STDs. This is especially important for men having sex with men, those that have multiple partners or have tested positive for other sexually transmitted diseases. These groups are even more susceptible to acquiring syphilis and other STDs.
Houston’s school districts have reached out to the CDC for access to information on sexually transmitted disease. The information is to offer classes for the students in the 6th grade to 12th grade on abstinence, STD testing, and safe sex practices with the use of condoms. The goal of the classes and educational events is to encourage good decision making when it comes to sex and sexual encounters. These decisions for some youth are to participate in safe sex by using condoms and using them properly. That any sexual contact, oral, vaginal and anal is sex and can expose one to STDs.
With the increase of new cases of sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, the education of STDs for the youth has increased. Houston is currently battling an outbreak of syphilis and health care facilities and school events have offered STD testing for students in Houston. Many schools have offered free condoms to keep those sexually active safe from STDs.
Syphilis can cause long-term health issues and when left untreated can lead to death. Sores appear with the first stages of syphilis. As with other sexually transmitted diseases, many of the symptoms can go unnoticed. When left undetected, treatment is not started and the disease progresses. The progression of syphilis can take years. Syphilis can damage internal organs. The brain, heart and eyes can be damaged with syphilis. When the organs are damaged, this can lead to eventual death due to late detection.
In Houston, the outreach is to the youth. Those that participate in risky sexual activities, as well as, the gay and bi-sexual male relationships are encouraged to have regular STD testing. Emphasis on syphilis testing for all that are sexually active, especially when unprotected sex has occurred is a big part of the outreach programs into the community. To have early detection and then to start the proper treatment program for cures is all part of taking care of one’s sexual health. Early detection and treatment is the key to cures for syphilis as well as other sexually transmitted diseases.