Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

With Syphilis Rates Soaring, St. Louis County Wants You to Mate for Life

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 1:10 PM


Syphilis in St. Louis city and county is on the rise. How much on the rise? Enough for the St. Louis County Department of Public Health to issue a press release yesterday stressing the importance of prevention and testing.

An examination of the data released by the county’s health department led St. Louis Public Radio to concur that “the rate of syphilis cases in St. Louis County increased 42 percent between 2016 and 2017” — the largest increase in at least five years.

Syphilis isn’t that dangerous, as far as STIs go, and can be treated and cured if it is caught early enough. But if it's left untreated or ignored, it can end up causing serious problems, including blindness and dementia.

The highest rate of new syphilis infections is among teenagers and young adults, with the ages of 15 to 24 hit the hardest. The county's press release also stressed that syphilis is especially dangerous to a fetus and that pregnant women should be tested for it at their first prenatal visit, then rescreened between 28 and 32 weeks and again at delivery.

The County Department of Public Health did have some suggestions on “certain measures sexually active individuals can take to protect themselves from syphilis and other STIs,” but the first suggestion seemed a little… judgey.

One way you could protect yourself, per the county:
Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested for syphilis and does not have syphilis.
And that, if you ask us, seems a lot to ask for. It also seems pretty unrealistic, especially for the 15 to 24-year-old age group that needs the most help.

Not only does it rule out poly or sex-positive singles, but let's face it: If all “monogamous” partners were truly trustworthy, then all of those preggos wouldn’t have to keep getting tested for syphilis throughout their pregnancies, no?

Still, in fairness, the county health department really is just trying to look out for you, and its release did actually have one universally good suggestion: Use condoms. Use lots of them. Use them every time you have sex.

Don’t know where to get condoms? Short on cash? Didn't expect to get laid and suddenly it's a possibility? You can grab some free condoms at locations all around St. Louis. Check out for that information and also advice "on how to properly use condoms, as well as where to find local sexual health testing, treatment, and support resources.”

So now you know. Suit up and get some, everybody. Certainly seems easier than finding a trustworthy partner and committing for life.

Godspeed, young sluts.

Email the author at
  • Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation