Syphilis cases on the rise in part of East Tennessee

The number of cases of a serious sexually transmitted disease are on the rise in Knox County.

Syphilis is a skin-to-skin contact disease which can become serious or fatal if not treated.

To help prevent the spread of Syphilis, the Knox County Health Department offers free and confidential testing to anyone who may be at risk.

Dr. Martha Buchanan with the Knox County Health Department says "we feel like its probably mostly in people who are having anonymous sex, sex with persons they don't know, maybe paying for sex, trading drugs for sex."

The initial symptom may be a painless sore, but it is very serious.

Untreated Syphilis can cause serious damage to your brain and heart, and can paralyze you, and cause bone, nerve, and organ problems.

The disease also makes it easier to get HIV but is curable if you get treatment.

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