No, you have not been time-machined back to the early 1900s. This is real life. Syphilis is back. And it’s not the only Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) re-tending in 2016.
There are countries in 2016 facing shortages of Syphilis medication for pregnant women. Why? Because it’s in high demand.
Some states in America have seen a 70% increase in Syphilis cases in the past year; reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis have recently increased for the first time since 2006; and, in Australia, 2015 saw the worst syphilis outbreak in 30 years.
Remember, syphilis was the disease of Adolf Hitler (the least of his problems, really), Henry VIII (and probably his poor wives, all six of them), Shakespeare and, supposedly, Abraham Lincoln.
It is curable but, when left untreated, can result in brain damage, dementia, hearing loss and blindness, as well as heart problems.
The most disastrous effects, arguably, are those on the unborn children of pregnant women, who contract the disease. Last year, syphilis claimed the lives of 10 babies across Australia.
In 2000, there were only 6,000 cases of Syphilis in America, and researchers believed the disease was on it’s way to extinction. Fast forward to 2014, and there were nearly 20,000 cases — a number that has continued to rise.
Our ‘first time’ stories go from bad to worse. Post continues below video.
Chlamydia is also a problem. In the 10 years leading up to 2011, incidence of Chlamydia in Australia rose from 1,295 to 4,349 per 100,000 people. In 2014, there were 86,000 diagnosed cases.
So, why are STIs increasing? Why, in 2016, are they not going away? Why can’t we manage to stay safe and protect ourselves, and our partners, when we know the rules? We are educated on safe sex, we have access to condoms, we know the importance of communication.
Maybe it’s because Tinder has rendered sex so convenient and “easy” to attain that STIs are just a minor setback in the game that is hooking-up-with-someone-new-every-other-night (antibiotics aren’t sounding so bad, are they? Until you consider the other people affected…). STIs are hardly going to be disclosed in profile descriptions and, if you’re meeting someone for the first time, with the sole intention of having sex, a discussion about syphilis symptoms is likely going to destroy the mood. (That, right there, is the REASON for condoms, people. Get on it.)