Mobile Version - July - August 2020

From the Director Dr. Jonathan Mermin

A recent CDC analysis found that in 2018, 1 in 2 newborn syphilis cases in the United States occurred due to gaps in testing and treatment during prenatal care – illustrating how missed prevention opportunities can lead to tragic outcomes.

CDC's Division of STD Prevention researchers analyzed data across the key milestones that prevent congenital syphilis (syphilis passed from mother-to-baby during pregnancy) to better understand these gaps and what is needed to fill them. Data show cases occur when mothers who receive care:

  • Are not tested early during prenatal care (9%)
  • Are diagnosed but not adequately treated for syphilis (31%)
  • Acquired syphilis later in pregnancy after an initial negative test (11%)

While most failures occur when mothers are receiving some level of prenatal care, more than a quarter of cases (28%) occur when mothers have no timely prenatal care. Researchers do not have data to identify missed prevention opportunities for 21% of cases.

Commonly missed opportunities to prevent congenital syphilis also differed by region, which underscores the importance of tailoring prevention solutions to the needs of communities.

Despite the dramatic rise in congenital syphilis cases (up 261% from 2013-18) and deaths (94 in 2018 alone), simple testing and treatment saves lives. Healthcare providers can follow CDC's testing and treatment recommendations to help; however, the resurgence of syphilis and congenital syphilis cannot be tackled in the exam room alone. Closing the prevention gaps requires action from many people and groups: CDC, health departments, healthcare providers, community leaders, universities and industry, individuals, and the healthcare system at large.

Three New HIV Surveillance Reports

DHAP published three new reports:

The release of the CDC HIV surveillance reports, along with the data in AtlasPlus, marks an update both to the schedule of data release and additions to the types of information included in the reports, including data by gender identity, data for Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative (EHE) jurisdictions, and estimates of PrEP coverage (using national pharmacy data).

New Recommendations for Organ Transplant Safety

The U.S. Public Health Service released new guidance to enhance organ transplant safety measures and increase the use of available organs for donation. The June 2020 U.S. Public Health Service guidelines recommend actions healthcare providers can take before and after transplant to minimize the risk of HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C transmission.