Syphilis cases are on the rise in Canada

Syphilis cases are on the rise in Canada

Learn more about syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection. Understand why awareness, early detection and timely treatment for syphilis are essential for the health and well-being of our communities.

Key facts

Syphilis rates

Syphilis rates

In the past 4 years, rates of infectious syphilis have increased by 109%. Rates of congenital syphilis, where syphilis is passed to a fetus during pregnancy, have increased by 599%.

Learn more about syphilis rates


Syphilis can be passed on in different ways, including:

  • vaginal, anal or oral sex
  • sharing sex toys
  • skin contact with a syphilis sore or rash

Syphilis can also be passed on from a pregnant person to their fetus during pregnancy, or to the baby during childbirth.



Even after successful treatment, you can get syphilis again if you have sexual contact with someone who's infected and either:

  • hasn't been treated
  • hasn't completed their treatment

Regular testing and safer sex practices are important to prevent reinfection.



Antibiotics can cure syphilis, and are usually given by injection. Early treatment is key to avoiding long-term health problems. Post-treatment follow-up tests help to ensure the infection is completely clear.

Learn more about syphilis treatment



Syphilis symptoms can be subtle and easily missed. The infection has 4 stages, each with different signs and symptoms. It can often look like other infections, earning it the nickname "the great imitator." Regular testing is crucial for knowing if you have syphilis.

Learn more about syphilis symptoms and stages



Testing for syphilis can be done:

  • through a blood test
  • by swabbing a syphilis sore

For testing or inquiries about syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections, you can reach out to:

  • your healthcare provider
  • a sexual health clinic
  • your local public health unit

Learn more:

Syphilis in pregnancy

Syphilis in pregnancy

It's possible to get syphilis while pregnant. Syphilis infection in pregnancy can lead to congenital syphilis, which occurs when syphilis is passed to a fetus during pregnancy. Congenital syphilis is also on the rise in Canada.

Learn more about congenital syphilis

Awareness resources

Resources are available to support you in raising awareness about syphilis within your communities. These include educational posters, tip sheets, social media materials, and practical tools for syphilis management in clinical settings. Please contact: if you'd like to receive copies of these resources.

Resources for health professionals

Resources and tools to support health professionals with syphilis management in their practices.

Download the CDN STBBI Guidelines app

Get the most up-to-date recommendations for STBBI management on your mobile device.

Available from:

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

STBBI: Barriers to Screening course

Free and accredited online course for health professionals on barriers to STBBI screening.

Register for the course

Video resources

Additional resources

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