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Health Alert Network Messages


Provider Update: Increasing Early Syphilis Cases in Alabama – Syphilis Laboratory Tests

ADPH is alerting providers across the state to the continuing increase in congenital and adult syphilis in Alabama.

To diagnose syphilis, laboratory testing must include both treponemal and non-treponemal tests. Unless specified by the provider, the sequence of these tests (i.e. treponemal or non-treponemal test first) differs across laboratories and results must be carefully interpreted to distinguish current syphilis infection from a previous infection. It is important that providers understand their syphilis screening algorithm. In the document below, we provide a review of the traditional and reverse testing algorithms with an interpretation of these serologic diagnostic test results for healthcare providers in order to combat this rising syphilis epidemic within the state.

Sexually Transmitted Infections Treatment Guidelines, 2021

CDC has released Sexually Transmitted Infections Treatment Guidelines, 2021. This document provides current evidence-based diagnostic, management, and treatment recommendations, and serves as a source of clinical guidance for managing sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The new guidelines include notable updates from the previous 2015 guidance, including:

  • Updated treatment recommendations for chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Updated treatment recommendations for uncomplicated gonorrhea in neonates, children, and other specific clinical situations (e.g., proctitis, epididymitis, sexual assault), which builds on broader treatment changes published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report late last year.
  • Information on FDA-cleared diagnostic tests for Mycoplasma genitalium and rectal and pharyngeal chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Expanded risk factors for syphilis testing among pregnant patients.
  • Recommended two-step serologic testing for diagnosing genital herpes simplex virus.
  • Harmonized recommendations for human papillomavirus vaccination with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
  • Recommended universal hepatitis C testing in alignment with CDC's 2020 hepatitis C testing recommendations.

STIs are common and costly to the nation's health and economy. With 26 million new STIs occurring each year, totaling nearly $16 billion in medical costs, evidence-based prevention, diagnostic, and treatment recommendations are critical to halting continued increases.

Health Alert Network

Congenital Syphilis

Congenital Syphilis (CS)

Recently, there has been a sharp increase in the number of babies born with syphilis in the United States. Protect your baby from congenital syphilis by getting tested for syphilis during your pregnancy.

All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis at the first prenatal visit (the first time you see your doctor for health care during pregnancy). If you don’t get tested at your first visit, make sure to ask your doctor about getting tested during a future checkup. Some women should be tested more than once during pregnancy.

Talk with your doctor about the number of syphilis cases in your area and your risk for syphilis to determine if you should be tested again at the beginning of the third trimester, and again when your baby is born.

Keep in mind that you can have syphilis and not know it. Many people with syphilis do not have any symptoms. Also, syphilis symptoms may be very mild, or be similar to signs of other health problems. The only way to know for sure if you have syphilis is to get tested.

For more information about CS, babies born with CS, and treatment, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently.

Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%. Your risk of getting HIV from sex can be even lower if you combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods.

For more information on PrEP including where to find it in Alabama, visit the Office of HIV Prevention and Care.

2020 Alabama Sexually Transmitted Diseases Annual Report

The Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention and Control of the Alabama Department of Public Health is pleased to provide the 2020 Alabama Sexually Transmitted Diseases Annual Report. The report highlights the impact of sexually transmitted diseases among the residents of Alabama.

Page last updated: January 25, 2024