Number of adults reported with syphilis (primary/secondary and latent/unknown) in the past 12 months

Export Indicator

Number of adults reported with syphilis (primary/secondary and latent/unknown) in the past 12 months STI Pilot Indicators (to be reported by PAHO and EMRO countries only)
What it measures

Progress in reducing unprotected sex in the general population.


Infection with an acute bacterial STI such as primary/secondary syphilis is a marker of unprotected sexual intercourse and facilitates HIV transmission and acquisition. Therefore, surveillance for primary/secondary syphilis contributes to second-generation HIV surveillance through providing early warning of the epidemic potential of HIV from sexual transmission and on-going high-risk sexual activity that may need more aggressive programme interventions to reduce risk. Furthermore, untreated syphilis causes stillbirths and neonatal disease, and can progress to debilitating or fatal outcomes in adults.


Number of adults reported with syphilis during the reporting period


Number of individuals aged 15 and older per UNPD

Method of measurement

Routine health information systems

Disaggregations: Sex, Primary/secondary vs. latent/unknown: Total, Total Female, Total Male, Female primary/secondary, Male primary/secondary

Data Quality Control and Notes for Reporting Tool: Recommended indicator in: “Strategies and laboratory methods for strengthening surveillance of sexually transmitted infection 2012”

Measurement frequency

Gender: Male, Female

Explanation of the numerator
Explanation of the denominator
Strengths and weaknesses

Although WHO has provided a global case definition, actual case definition may vary between and within countries. Furthermore, diagnostic capacity may vary between and within countries. Although underreporting of this indicator may occur, in the absence of changes in case definition or major changes in screening practices, these data can generally be used for following trends over time within a country.

Additional considerations: It is important that countries when reporting on syphilis communicate on the extent to which the data are felt to be representative of the national population.

Data utilization: Look at trends in comparable groups over time.

Further information