Easy cure counterproductive for syphilis prevention

Work needs to be stepped up to develop a vaccine for syphilis which has lost its "bogeyman" status, says an Australian sexual health expert.

The disease still kills half-a-million babies worldwide annually, which UNSW Professor Basil Donovan describes as "an international scandal".

He says syphilis is a pressing global public health problem across different demographics, including men who have sex with men and pregnant women.

However, because it’s treatable with penicillin, there is a tendency to disregard it.