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Japan has been facing an unprecedented increase in syphilis, largely among women who have sex with men and men who have sex with women.1–3 Notifications among women have increased >15-fold over the past decade (figure 1A),1 2 and female sex worker (FSW) status has been found to be associated with incident syphilis.4 These epidemiological trends necessitate urgent action to prevent transmission and adverse consequences, including the risk of congenital syphilis due to infections among pregnant women.
In Japan, all laboratory-confirmed cases of syphilis must be notified.5 The notification form was modified in 2019 to include information regarding (1) history of providing commercial sex within the previous 6 months and (2) pregnancy status. Here, we describe reported syphilis cases among women (female sex at birth) reporting FSW status and among pregnant women during 2019–2021 (as of 8 October 2022).
Among women reporting FSW status, the number of syphilis diagnoses increased from 740 in 2019 to 1010 …
Handling editor Anna Maria Geretti
AK and MO contributed equally.
Contributors AK, MO, TT and Y Arima designed the study. AK, MO, TT, Y Arima, TA, HI, TY and MS verified the data. AK, MO, TT, and Y Arima analysed and interpreted the data. AK and MO wrote the first draft of the manuscript. TT, Y Arima, TA, HI, TY, YO, SN, Y Akeda and MS reviewed and provided important comments on the draft manuscript. TY obtained the funding. Y Arima and MS provided administrative or material support. All authors read and approved the manuscript.
Funding This work was supported by grants from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan (grant no. 21HA1003).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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