A recent syphilis outbreak in Washoe County has more than doubled the number of syphilis cases in just one year.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can spread from oral, genital, and anal sores.

How to protect yourself: First, make sure to get tested – a simple shot of penicillin can cure syphilis if you test positive. Second, abstain from sex if you have oral, genital, or anal sores. Third, if you do have sex, make sure to use condoms, which reduce the risk of syphilis when the sore is covered. If you are having sex, get tested. Many symptoms and signs of syphilis go unnoticed or may not seem like they are related.

Most syphilis cases in Washoe County have been among men who have sex with men and homeless individuals. Contact HOPES at (775) 786-4673 or the Washoe County Health Dept. at (775) 328-2470 to schedule a syphilis test.

Untreated syphilis doesn’t just go away. You’re still contagious and in danger of permanent damage to your nervous system, heart, brain, and other organs if you go without treatment.