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Spread the word: Get tested for syphilis!

You may see our ad campaign soon on YouTube, TikTok, or a billboard.

The message is simple: If you’re 45 or younger and have sex, you need to get tested for syphilis.

Syphilis is sharply increasing in Pierce County. Our cases more than quadrupled from 58 in 2016 to 711 in 2022. The state and nation are also experiencing sizeable increases. Since historic lows in 2000, we saw more than 176,000 cases nationwide in 2021. Syphilis cases grew at alarming rates statewide, too. 

We’ve also seen a big increase in babies born with syphilis. Pierce County’s cases of congenital syphilis increased from 2 in 2020 to 14 in 2021 and 14 again in 2022. State and nationwide numbers have increased recently as well.

Our new campaign is one of the many ways we’re working to make syphilis extinct.

Let’s talk about it. 

Syphilis is a bacterial sexually transmitted disease. You can get it through any kind of sex, and anyone who has sex can get it.

We see many stigmas around sexually transmitted diseases. But one of the best things to do is talk about them.

Many people who have syphilis may not notice symptoms. Infected people can spread it without knowing it. If you have syphilis, you may see (or notice):

  • Sores on genitals that don’t hurt or look like ingrown hairs.
  • Patchy hair loss.
  • Rashes on palms, soles of feet, or anywhere on the body.
  • Wart-like bumps on genitals.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Fever.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Changes to vision or hearing.

A blood test from a healthcare provider, even if you don’t have symptoms, is the only way to know if you have syphilis. The right medicine can cure it.

Sex is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. 45 or younger and have sex? Get tested for syphilis.

Spot our campaign.

Syphilis isn’t extinct. You may see this message in one of our many advertisements. As is often our strategy, we used the touchstones of humor and personal responsibility to connect with our community about this health concern.

The ads offer a great opportunity to talk to anyone–including kids, in ways that make sense for their age–about health. Young kids don’t need to worry about syphilis, but their parents and older siblings should know how to protect themselves. Make sure your kids know they can talk to you, a healthcare provider, or another trusted adult about any questions they have.

We want to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. Talking about health–all health–helps us do that.

Learn more about syphilis and other STDs at