As China undergoes rapid development and an overall change in lifestyle, the prevalence of sexually transmitting diseases, especially syphilis, is also on the rise and is turning into a real epidemic.

The contributing factors, along with overall lifestyle changes, include sexual experimentation at a young age and before marriage, as well as the increasing costs of individual healthcare.

Syphilis is a dangerous disease that if not treated carries the risk of damage to the brain, spinal cord, skin, bones and the heart.

Syphilis prevalence in China is 20 times bigger now than it was in 1993. Health experts are very worried because of these proportions and say that a lot of effort will be needed to put a stop to the epidemic.

In 1993, only 0.2 cases per 100,000 people suffered from syphilis. Only six years later, that number has increased from 0.2 to 6.5 per 100,000 people. Congenital syphilis incidence saw a jump of almost 72% on average every year from 1991 to 2005. Congenital syphilis is also very dangerous since they represent risk of miscarriages and stillbirths as well as brain, liver and other organs’ damage.

Young populations have no immunity to the disease since it has been absent for about twenty years. The highest prevalence is detected in the urban regions, including the cities of Shanghai, Beijing and the rich coastal provinces of Guangdong, Hainan and Zhejiang.