Genetics Northern California

Syphilis Screening Program

Prenatal Testing
All women should be tested for syphilis early in pregnancy.  A pregnant woman with syphilis can pass the disease to her baby.  Without treatment, her baby could also develop syphilis.  Congenital syphilis (syphilis in infants and children) can cause lifelong problems and even death.  

At Kaiser Permanente, every pregnant woman has syphilis screening as part of her early prenatal blood tests.  Testing shows if a woman has ever been infected with syphilis.  If she has been, she will need treatment or records that show she was already treated.  

Pediatric Follow-up
Women treated for syphilis will have another blood test at delivery to make sure the treatment worked.  Their babies may also be tested for syphilis at delivery.  A blood test can show if the baby needs treatment and if more testing is needed later on.  The Regional Perinatal Screening Program checks to make sure all treatments and blood tests are done at the right time.

Medical Follow-up
Most people recover from syphilis after taking antibiotics.  However, unsafe practices can cause a person to get syphilis again.  Right now, there is a rise in syphilis in California.  It is recommended that anyone diagnosed with syphilis or anyone that has had sexual contact with a person diagnosed with syphilis consult with a medical doctor.  

Learn More About Syphilis

Syphilis Prevention/STD Fact Sheet  

Congenital Syphilis

California Dept of Public Health- Syphilis
California Department of Public Health
STD Control Branch
    850 Marina Bay Parkway
    Building P, 2nd Floor
    Richmond, CA 94804-6403
    Phone: (510) 620-3400

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)

Last Reviewed: March 2021
Reviewed by: Patricia Mariano, RN, PHN, MSN