Syphilis tests and treatment

Who to test

SCREENING for syphilis is common in general practice. 

One Australian survey reported that more than 90% of GPs in Victoria and NSW always tested for syphilis in antenatal patients.1 

Syphilis screening is also an integral part of the sexual health screen for those deemed at risk; for example, annual tests are recommended for men who have sex with men (MSM), three-monthly screening is advisable for HIV-positive MSM, and consider testing in at-risk heterosexuals.3,4 

Patients who present requesting a sexual health screen for “everything” and those undergoing a dementia assessment are other candidates for syphilis testing.2 

Given the potential volume of testing, it is hardly surprising that occasionally a positive result is reported.

Despite being uncommon, syphilis is still present in our community, and although the rates are