Health District Working with Community Partners to Address High Rates of Syphilis and Congenital Syphilis in Southern Nevada

By April 17, 2019 Uncategorized

In 2017, Clark County’s primary and secondary syphilis rate was 24.1 per 100,000 population compared to the U.S rate of 9.5. The congenital syphilis rate was 76.7 per 100,000 live births. The U.S rate was 23.3.

In 2017, Clark County ranked first in the nation for rates of primary and secondary syphilis and second for rates of congenital syphilis. Cases of congenital syphilis have been steadily increasing at an alarming rate in Clark County. In 2016, there were nine reported cases, in 2017 there were 20 cases, and in 2018 there were 24 cases of congenital syphilis in Clark County.

“Congenital syphilis is entirely preventable and should never be an acceptable outcome in our community,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District. “April is STD Awareness Month, and we are working with our partners to emphasize the importance of testing and treatment of all pregnant women as required by state law.”

The Health District’s Office of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance collaborated with the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health to develop a Congenital Syphilis Academic Detailing Packet that contains resources for providers and patients.

Academic detailing is an innovative one-on-one outreach technique that helps medical providers deliver education-based care to their patients. Each academic detailing packet provided by the Health District contains both provider and patient education material along with disease reporting information, case management resources, and recommended discussion points for providers to discuss with their patients. The resources are created using current, evidence-based sources of data to assist medical professionals in providing the most up to date, effective treatments for their patients.

“Health care providers treat many different patients who have many different needs,” said Dr. Iser. “As a public health organization, we are able to connect with our partners in the health care sector to share our resources. These connections and shared resources will lead to more effective treatments, better outcomes for patients, and ultimately the elimination of syphilis in Nevada.”

This initiative is vital to improving the health of Southern Nevadans. Rates of STDs and HIV in Clark County are higher than in Nevada as a whole and in the nation. In 2017, Clark County’s primary and secondary syphilis rate was 24.1 per 100,000 population compared to the U.S rate of 9.5. The congenital syphilis rate was 76.7 per 100,000 live births. The U.S rate was 23.3.

2017 Clark County rates for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and HIV:

(Rate per 100,000 population)

 

Chlamydia

Gonorrhea

New HIV Diagnosis Rate

Clark County

581.7

221.3

20.2

Nevada

553.1

187.8

16.5

United States

528.8

171.9

11.8

If left untreated, sexually transmitted diseases can increase a person’s risk of giving or getting HIV. In women, they can cause infertility or pregnancy complications.

The Health District and partner initiative encourages the public to interrupt the increase of STDs with these three steps:

  1. TALK: Talk openly about STDs with your partners and health care providers.
  2. TEST: Get tested. It’s the only way to know if you have an STD.
  3. TREAT: If you have an STD, work with your provider to get the right medicine.

In addition to the Health District’s collaboration with the State Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Governor Steve Sisolak is helping to raise awareness by issuing a proclamation in recognition of STD Awareness month.

“Syphilis elimination is achievable in Southern Nevada. With the continued support of our partners, I am confident we will be able to meet this goal,” said Dr. Iser.