The number of babies being born with congenital syphilis (congenital = born with) increased over 900% over five years in Mississippi.

In 2021, 102 newborns in the state were treated for syphilis.  This is an increase from 10 newborns in 2016.

Syphillis can damage infant organs.  In rare cases, babies have died from this std.

The std is passed from mother to child while pregnant, which means that women and the men or other gender identifying individuals they had intercourse with both had unprotected intercourse.

Babies may initially not show symptoms of syphilis despite being infected, but complications can be severe if not treated within 3 months.

The problem of congenital syphilis is growing nationwide.  Cases have more than doubled from 941 in 2017 to 2677 in 2021 across the US.

Pointing to racial disparities within the state, 70% of the newborns with congenital syphilis in 2020 were Black, despite accounting for only 42% of Mississippi’s live births that year.

If a mother receives a series of penicillin shots at least a month before delivery, congenital syphilis cases be prevented.  The growing issue is that treatment is not happening in time.

Some counties lack an obstetrician, which means people have to travel for care.  Time away from home may mean lost income, and unreliable transportation can lead to missed appointments.

Syphilis can also the affect the kidneys.  I say this not as something necessarily occurring in babies, but as a knowledge share of what can happen even in older individuals with the infection.  Renal (kidney) problems are rare with syphilis, but can present during secondary syphilis, with membranous nephropathy being particularly common.  Kidney manifestations of syphilis can usually resolve with penicillin treatment provided by your doctor.  Symptoms to watch for include swelling in body parts (legs, ankles, around the eyes), weight gain, fatigue, foamy urine, fever, and less urine output.  Tests by a doctor may show high fat levels in the blood (high cholesterol), protein in the urine (proteinuria), and low protein levels in the blood.

To conclude, please do STD tests with the partners you have intercourse with before having intercourse with them.  If you are not in a monogamous, serious, and faithful situation, use barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, EVERY SINGLE TIME.