By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

On Thursday, the Brazil Ministry of Health launched the National Campaign to Combat Syphilis in 2021.

During the launching of the campaign, health officials reported the 2020 syphilis numbers–last year,  115,371 cases were registered of acquired syphilis, 61,441 of syphilis in pregnant women and 22,065 of congenital syphilis with 186 deaths.

The campaign comes to alert about the importance of prevention and early treatment. The target audience includes pregnant women and their partners, men and women between 20 and 35 years old. In 2020, 38.8% of the notifications of acquired syphilis occurred in individuals between 20 and 29 years old, and 56.4% of the pregnant women were also of this age. In addition, 56.4% of children born with congenital syphilis came from mothers aged between 20 and 29 years.

Data from the study carried out by the Department of Health Surveillance (SVS) show a reduction of 26.5% in the detection rate of cases of acquired syphilis in 2020, compared to 2019. The document shows that for every 100,000 inhabitants, 54.5 tested positive for acquired syphilis. Most notifications occurred in individuals between 20 and 29 years of age. In 2019, Brazil identified 74.2 per 100,000 people.

In an attempt to stop the spread of the disease, the Federal Government will carry out a series of activities to make the population aware of how to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s).

The Ministry of Health reinforces that the main weapon against the disease is the use of condoms during sexual intercourse. To identify cases early and refer the patient to the Unified Health System (SUS), the Federal Government performs free diagnostic testing for syphilis. In 2020, 7.2 million rapid tests were distributed and 6.6 million by September 2021.

Patients diagnosed with the disease are immediately referred to the specialized health service for treatment, also free of charge, including during prenatal care (in case of pregnant women). For this, up to September 2021 there were 966,000 vials of benzathine penicillin and 113,000 vials of crystalline/potassium penicillin.

“In 2020 alone, the investment in tests was R$17.2 million. And, until September this year, there were more than R$ 22.9 million in tests. We must also emphasize that one cannot talk about penicillin deficiency in the country. We have enough medicines to treat every citizen who is diagnosed with the disease. In the treatment of acquired syphilis alone, we invested more than R$7.95 million and more than R$1.02 million for the treatment of congenital syphilis. This is the strength of our Unified Health System”, highlighted Secretary Arnaldo.