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Clinical Summary

Syphilis Infection in Nonpregnant Adults and Adolescents: Screening

Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Population Asymptomatic, nonpregnant adults and adolescents at increased risk for syphilis infection
Recommendation Screen for syphilis infection.
Grade: A
Risk Assessment Men who have sex with men and persons living with HIV have the highest risk for syphilis infection. Other factors that are also associated with increased prevalence rates include a history of incarceration or commercial sex work, geography, race/ethnicity, and being a male younger than 29 years.
Screening Tests There are numerous screening tests for syphilis. The most common is a combination of nontreponemal and treponemal antibody tests.
Treatment and Interventions Syphilis infection is treated with parenteral penicillin G benzathine. Dosage and route may vary depending on the stage of disease and patient characteristics.
Balance of Benefits and Harms The USPSTF concludes with high certainty that the net benefit of screening for syphilis infection in nonpregnant persons at increased risk for infection is substantial.
Other Relevant USPSTF Recommendations The USPSTF has made recommendations on screening for syphilis in pregnant women, as well as screening for HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia in sexually active adolescents and adults and behavioral counseling interventions to prevent sexually transmitted infections. These recommendations are available on the USPSTF website (

For a summary of the evidence systematically reviewed in making this recommendation, the full recommendation statement, and supporting documents, please go to

Current as of: June 2016

Internet Citation: Clinical Summary: Syphilis Infection in Nonpregnant Adults and Adolescents: Screening . U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. January 2017.

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