The World Health Organization estimates that 10.7 million people between the ages of 15 and 49 had syphilis in 2012, and about 5.6 million people contract it every year. In the U.S., its prevalence is growing, particularly among men who have sex with men. In many developing nations, it is growing among women sex workers and their clients.
For a long time, health agencies have tried to eliminate syphilis by treating people who contract it, tracking down the patients' recent sex partners, treating them and their partners, until the healthcare workers found everyone who could have been exposed to the disease. But this method is limited by people's willingness and ability to reveal their sexual contacts. It's also limited by the difficulty diagnosing syphilis.
Syphilis - Imitator - Pigmentation - Conditions - Dr
"Syphilis is the great imitator; it can look like hyper pigmentation, or other conditions," says Dr. Juan C. Salazar, chair of pediatrics at UConn Health and physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.
And, the sexually transmitted disease poses serious health consequences. Syphilis is the second leading cause of stillbirth and miscarriage worldwide and, if left untreated, it can cause strokes, dementia, and other neurological disease.
Salazar - Colombia - City - Cali - Percent
Salazar was born in Colombia, where, in the city of Cali, about seven percent of young, sexually active people have evidence of syphilis.
About 15 years ago, he introduced UConn Health researchers to a group of health care professionals at CIDEIM, an infectious disease research institute in Cali, and they started an ongoing relationship: UConn Health researchers received access to a large population of patients for their studies, and the Cali clinicians and researchers received high-level training in recognizing and treating syphilis.
UConn - Health - Personnel - Cali - Researchers
UConn Health personnel often visit Cali, and researchers from CIDEIM have come to UConn Health to train in advanced laboratory techniques in immunology and molecular biology. It's a good exchange, and it's helped fuel breakthroughs...
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