• DSHS HIV/STD Program
    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, TX 78714

    Phone: 737-255-4300

    Email the HIV/STD Program

    Email HIV, STD, Hepatitis C, and TB data requests to the Program – Use this email to request Texas HIV, STD, Hepatitis C, and TB data and statistics. Do not use this email to request treatment or infection history for individuals, or to request information on programs or services. Do not email personal, identifying health information such as HIV status, date of birth, or Social Security Number.

    For treatment/testing history, please contact your local health department.

    For information on HIV testing and services available to persons living with HIV, please contact your local HIV services organization.

Congenital Syphilis - Information for the Public

Congenital Syphilis is on the Rise

Congenital Syphilis in on the RiseWhat Is Congenital Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Congenital Syphilis (CS) occurs when syphilis is transmitted from mother to infant during pregnancy and/or at delivery.

Congenital Syphilis can cause serious health problems for the baby like miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and/or birth defects. Not all babies born with congenital syphilis will show symptoms at birth.

There is treatment for babies with CS, but they need to be treated right away or they could develop serious health problems months or even years later. It is also important that babies get the proper follow-up care based on medical advice.

How Common Is Congenital Syphilis?

In the United States, Congenital Syphilis (CS) has been on the rise for the last eight years. In 2018, the number of CS cases was the highest since 1995.

In Texas in 2019, the number of CS cases reported was the highest since 1993. In 2019, approximately 1 in 750 Texas babies was born with congenital syphilis.

Do I Need to Get Tested for Syphilis?

Yes. Getting tested for syphilis and other STDs is part of routine prenatal care. All persons who are pregnant are required by Texas law to be tested for syphilis three times during pregnancy:In Texas, it is required by law that all pregnant women get tested for syphilis a minimum of three times during their pregnancy: at the first prenatal visit, during the third trimester, and at delivery.

  1. At the first prenatal visit
  2. In the third trimester (no sooner than 28 weeks’ gestation or six and half months into your pregnancy), and
  3. Again at delivery.

If you haven’t been tested during these visits, make sure you talk to your doctor about getting tested at your next check-up.

Many people can have syphilis and not know it. Some people have symptoms like a sore or a rash but the only way to know for sure if you have syphilis is to get a simple blood test.

Getting tested routinely at your annual exam is another way to know your syphilis status. You may need to ask to be tested since syphilis testing is not part of most physicals or Pap tests.

What Should I Do If I Am Diagnosed With Syphilis?

If you are diagnosed with syphilis, be sure to get treatment right away and complete treatment following medical advice. If you are pregnant, your baby gets treated when you get treated!

Syphilis can be treated and cured with antibiotics. Make sure your sex partner(s) are treated too! Your local health department can help with getting your partner(s) tested and treated.

When Should I Start Prenatal Care?

As soon as you think you might be pregnant you should go to the doctor. Starting care early and getting frequent check-ups will help you and your baby stay healthy. If you are worried about the cost of care or do not have insurance, find out more about  Texas Benefits for Pregnant Women or call 877-345-7734 (Texas Pregnancy Care Network). You can also review available Texas Benefits online

Where Can I Get Tested for Syphilis and Other STDs?

You can find clinics in your area to get tested or find a doctor through Healthy Texas Women.

Facts to Consider

  • Syphilis is curable at all stages
  • Syphilis can be passed to the baby at any time during the pregnancy
  • Congenital syphilis is preventable


Congenital Syphilis

Reporting Congenital Syphilis

Provider Resources

Program Resources

Data and Surveillance

For the Public


Exploring an Epidemic podcast

Last updated February 9, 2022