Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a serious public health problem in low income countries, including Ethiopia. Syphilis caused by Treponema pallidum
remains a major cause of reproductive morbidity and poor pregnancy outcomes in low income countries. Stillbirth, perinatal death, serious neonatal infection and low-birth weight babies are common among seropositive mothers.
To assess the seroprevalence of syphilis and risk factor correlates of this infection at Gondar University Teaching Hospital, Ethiopia.
The study was done on 2385 pregnant women attending the antenatal care clinic (ANC) from January 2009 to December 2011. Data was abstracted from the antenatal care clinic medical database. Chi-square test was used, using SPSS version 16 and significance level was chosen at 0.05 level with a two-tailed test.
Of the total, 69(2. 9%) of pregnant women were confirmed as seropositive for syphilis. Pregnant women with an age group of 21-25 years of old were the most seropositive (3.4%), followed by 26-30 years of old (3.1%). The prevalence of syphilis infection was 3.2% in urban and 2.2% in rural pregnant women. Relatively high prevalence of syphilis infection were identified among students (4.2%) followed by governmental employees (3.8%).
The seroprevalence of syphilis among pregnant women attending ANC is declining. However, syphilis is more prevalent in the young and urban pregnant women. Emphasis on education to young people on STI risk behavioral change and partner follow up and notification for exposure to syphilis and treatment should be given.