In 2022, there were increases new infectious syphilis diagnoses despite decreases in testing compared to pre‐pandemic levels. This highlights a need for greater testing coverage and for testing to be routinely offered to sexually active adolescents and young adults. Increased efforts to support partner notification and treatment of sexual partners are also needed to reduce the incidence of STIs.
Based on the interpretation of the ratio of diagnoses, infectious syphilis was diagnosed more frequently in the past five years among gay and bisexual men. Explanations for this trend among gay and bisexual men include more comprehensive screening and greater availability and awareness of highly effective HIV prevention strategies and in turn a decrease in the use of condoms and greater sexual mixing. Efforts to improve health promotion, testing and treatment among gay and bisexual men need to be enhanced.
Infectious syphilis diagnoses continue to occur more frequently among young heterosexual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote areas, with the notification rate in 2022 more than five times higher than among non-Indigenous people. This highlights the need for culturally appropriate and co‐designed health promotion, testing and treatment strategies. Simultaneously, notification rates among women in urban settings are increasing at a considerable rate. Well promoted, accessible, and culturally acceptable testing services and prevention options must be made available to these populations.
The increases in infectious syphilis among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in regional and remote areas, along with a considerable increase in the number of congenital syphilis cases, emphasise the need to enhance culturally appropriate and co‐designed health promotion, testing and treatment strategies.
For data source information, please see the full report.