Sexually transmitted disease rates in our nation are soaring. The first study of syphilis rates in patients with kidney failure indicates those rates are even higher. Neurosyphilis, in which the brain and entire nervous system are impacted, was the second most common syphilis type they found in these patients. The neurosyphillis finding prompted the researchers to suggest that whenever a dialysis patient develops confusion, which is fairly common because of problems like an electrolyte imbalance, a syphilis test be part of the evaluation. The researchers say people with kidney failure may not realize they are at increased risk for sexually transmitted disease because of a higher incidence of associated infections like HIV and hepatitis. Caught early, a single dose of penicillin can cure syphilis.
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