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Health Indicator Report of Syphilis Rates

Syphilis was on the verge of elimination in 2000. Since 2011, the number of cases of primary and secondary syphilis, which is the most infectious, in New Mexico has steadily increased (following national trends), especially in the MSM (males who have sex with males) population (male to female ratio of syphilis infection is 85%:15%). Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics; however, if left untreated for more than a year, it can eventually lead to paralysis, numbness, dementia, and death. Syphilis can also be transmitted from mother to infant.


Primary and Secondary syphilis cases only are counted for graph by year comparing US and New Mexico case rates. The same is true for any narrative comparisons of New Mexico to U.S. cases, since that is the CDC case rate selection criteria. All other graphs include Primary, Secondary, and Early Latent cases.

Data Sources

  • Patient Reporting Investigating Surveillance Manager, Infectious Disease Bureau, New Mexico Department of Health
  • New Mexico Population Estimates: University of New Mexico, Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) Program,
  • U.S. Data Source: Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Syphilis cases reported in the state of New Mexico per 100,000 population.


Number of cases of chlamydia reported to the state of New Mexico (and Centers for Disease Control) in New Mexico residents from all health care providers.


Total Population

How Are We Doing?

Overall, primary, secondary, and early latent (P,S&EL) syphilis rates have been increasing from 2011 (6.1 per 100,000 population) to 2017 (14.9 per 100,000 population). In 2017, primary, secondary, and early latent (P,S,EL) rates were highest in the Black/African American category, (28.4 per 100,000 population), second highest in the American Indian/Alaska Native race/ethnicity category (24.6 per 100,000), third highest in the Hispanic category (15.2 per 100,000). The lowest rates were found in the White category (7.8 per 100,000) and Asian/Pacific Islander category (2.8 per 100,000 population), respectively. By region, the highest P,S, and EL rate for 2017 was found in the Metro region (19.5 per 100,000), followed by the Northwest region (17.1 per 100,000), followed by the Northeast region (12.2 per 100,000), and then the Southeast region (9.5 per 100,000), and Southwest region (8.9 per 100,000). In conclusion, syphilis rates have increased dramatically since 2011. Racial and ethnic disparities exist with this disease, as well as disparities by region. These issues need to be addressed in the consideration of resource allocation.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Primary and secondary syphilis rates in New Mexico have ranked lower than U.S. rates from year 2010 to 2015. In 2017, New Mexico ranked 14th in the nation for primary and secondary syphilis, indicating a better ranking compared to other states than in 2016.

What Is Being Done?

Screening for syphilis is recommended for all pregnant women and should be considered for individuals at increased risk, commercial sex workers, persons who exchange sex for drugs, men who have sex with men (MSM), and those in adult correctional facilities. CDC recommends routine screening for syphilis at least annually for MSM and HIV-infected patients who are sexually active (2010 STD Treatment Guidelines, pages 12, 16).
Page Content Updated On 01/02/2019, Published on 10/07/2019
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sat, 29 January 2022 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Wed, 2 Oct 2019 16:37:48 MDT