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Syphilis is re-emerging as a public health problem worldwide, after a declining trend during the 1990s. Lago EG et al. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. February 2013; 40 (2):85

Syphilis in pregnant women leads to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, low birth weight and in some cases death of newborns. Three to fifteen percent of women of child-bearing age in developing countries have syphilis. World Health Organization
Treponema specific Ig G enzyme immunoassays (EIA) are highly sensitive in diagnosing syphilis, especially early infection. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: December 2011; 38 (12) 1126
Approximately 40% of individuals with positive IgG EIA and TPPA had a negative RPR. This suggests that a number of individuals with syphilis may be missed with RPR screening alone. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: December 2011; 38 (12) 1126
The standard screening test for syphilis, RPR gives false-positive results in up to 28% of tests in pregnant women. WHO Bulletin 2004; 82:439
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 12 million new cases of adult syphilis occur worldwide each year and that the disease can be transmitted congenitally and affects 500,000 or more infants annually. Bulletin WHO 82:439-446
About 2 million pregnant women worldwide have active syphilis every year. Without treatment, 69% of these women will have an adverse outcome of pregnancy. Lancet Infectious Diseases Online 16 June 2011
Syphilis, caused by the micro organism Treponema pallidum, was first recognized in the 15th century. Because of the varying ways of its clinical manifestation, the disease is called "the great imitator." 
During pregnancy, transplacental transmission of syphilis rarely occurs at maternal RPR titers less than 1:8. Journal of infectious diseases 2002 Oct 1; 186 (7): 940
If all pregnant women are screened for syphilis, and those who tested positive are treated with one dose of benzathine penicillin before 28 weeks of gestation, no stillbirths or neonatal deaths would be due to syphilis.  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Gay men have a 40-fold higher risk for HIV & Syphilis. National STD Prevention Conference 2010
Guatemalan STD Experiments: In the 1940s, the US government had deliberately infected about 700 Guatemalans, with gonorrhea and syphilis. None of those infected had given their consent. The test subjects were infected by having sex with infected prostitutes. The researchers had wanted to find out whether penicillin could prevent STD infection, and not just cure it. Guatemalan government had given its blessing to the experiments. The fate of the human guinea pigs is unknown. US Secretary of State, apologized on behalf of the US government, describing the experiments as "unethical and reprehensible".

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