Donate to Syphilis Research, Patient Care and Education

Northwestern Medicine needs your help to support ongoing research devoted to early diagnosis, awareness and discovery of new treatment of syphilis.

Syphilis is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterial infection. It enters the body through membranes of the genitals, rectum and mouth during sexual activity. Syphilis can cause irreparable damage to the body’s organs and, if left untreated, lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness or death. Babies born to mothers with syphilis can have deformities or be stillborn.

In 2015, more than 24,000 cases of syphilis were reported, an increase of 19 percent over the previous year. Young people aged 15 to 24 and homosexual men are at the greatest risk of contracting syphilis.

Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help fund much-needed research aimed at finding new ways to treat and diagnose syphilis, raise public awareness about the disease, and improve outcomes through early detection.

The only way to prevent syphilis is to avoid having vaginal, anal or oral sex. However, you can practice safe sex to greatly reduce your risk. If you are sexually active:

  • Use a condom or dental dam every time you have sex.
  • Only have sex with a partner who has been tested and is free of STDs. Cases of syphilis are reported to your state health department.
  • Talk to your partner about syphilis and other STDs.

Due to the aggressive nature and serious long term complications of syphilis, early diagnosis is essential to preventing the spread and minimizing the effects of this disease. A diagnosis of syphilis may begin with a physical exam (including a pelvic exam for women) and a discussion of your symptoms.

Tests may include:

  • Blood test: A blood sample will be taken to help identify the bacterium responsible for syphilis.
  • Other lab tests: If a chancre is present, a swab of fluid from the chancre may be taken for study.
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): If syphilis has advanced, a sample of spinal fluid may be taken to determine if it has spread to the central nervous system.

Syphilis is treated with antibiotics, which can stop the progression of the disease but cannot reverse any damage to the body’s internal organs.

The Division of Infectious Disease at Northwestern Medicine provides quality inpatient and outpatient care for syphilis and other infectious diseases. Our interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and advanced practice nurses are dedicated to improving the health of those living with acute and chronic infectious diseases. With a donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help to support Northwestern Medicine and ensure that those who struggle with the infectious disease will be linked to the appropriate care.

Syphilis Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Your caring support of Northwestern Memorial Foundation will promote the advancement of critical patient care programs for syphilis, including awareness campaigns and patient access to early testing. Our research initiatives are dedicated to improving access to care for low-income patients, with a focus on education and resources to prevent diseases such as syphilis. Through your generous donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help to support essential research and quality patient care services. Your support helps us reach out to local communities with lifesaving education, screenings, and resources to prevent disease, improve access to care for low-income patients, and help stop the spread of infectious diseases like syphilis.

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