Israel sees alarming rise in syphilis infection rates – Health Ministry

Science and Health

In recent years, the global rise in sexually transmitted infections has become a cause for concern, and Israel is no exception. Among these infections, syphilis has emerged as a particularly worrying issue.

According to 2023 data from the Israeli Health Ministry, there has been a sharp rise in the incidence of this disease, which can cause severe damage to vital organs, such as the brain, heart, eyes, and unborn fetus, even years after initial infection.

The surge in sexually transmitted diseases worldwide, including in Israel, can be traced back to the approval of “PrEP” medications, primarily used to prevent HIV transmission.

While these medications have contributed to a decline in HIV infection rates, they have also led to a significant increase in sexually transmitted infections and the widespread use of antibiotics. This has resulted in some bacteria developing resistance, leaving healthcare providers with limited treatment options.

Beilinson Hospital (credit: COURTESY BEILINSON HOSPITAL)

Why is syphilis such a concern in Israel?

One of the most worrying diseases in this context is syphilis. As noted by Prof. Daniel Mimoni, the head of the Dermatology and Venereal Diseases Department at Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Hospital, “We are witnessing numerous cases of syphilis in hospitals and clinics, and we are genuinely concerned about these numbers.”

Syphilis is often referred to as “the great imitator” due to its ability to manifest in various forms and mimic other diseases, sometimes remaining asymptomatic initially.

Mimoni further stressed that while “PrEP” works against HIV, it does not offer protection against other sexually transmitted diseases. This includes not only syphilis, which is considered highly dangerous, but also herpes, HPV, and condyloma, which can potentially develop into cancerous lesions. 


The solution, therefore, lies in engaging in having sex with protection, and in cases of any rash or symptoms, medical professionals should consider conducting blood and urine tests to detect other sexually transmitted diseases.

The rising prevalence of syphilis in Israel and globally highlights the urgent need for comprehensive sexual health education, accessible healthcare services, and increased awareness regarding the importance of protected sexual encounters. Efforts should be made to address not only HIV prevention but also a range of sexually transmitted diseases to ensure the well-being and safety of individuals.