After nearly being eradicated in the 20th century, syphilis is on the rise in Australia, with health officials sounding the alarm among people of reproductive age. Not only can the STI cause long-term health issues if left untreated, but it can also be unknowingly passed from a pregnant person to their unborn baby. That’s where Lady Peeps comes in.
Launched in 2020 and supported by Queensland Health, Lady Peeps encourages people to take control of their sexual health and get tested for STIs, including being screened for syphilis. Lady Peeps is also at the heart of the public health campaign to inform and educate Queenslanders—and Australians at large—about the importance of syphilis testing throughout pregnancy.
Lady Peeps is a reminder that all sexually active people could potentially have an STI, but only a small number get tested. If a syphilis infection isn’t treated, the signs and symptoms may go away, but the infection can remain in the body and cause long-term health issues, with flow-on effects for people become pregnant, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or physical and intellectual disabilities in unborn babies.
Health professionals play a role in combating syphilis as well. Lady Peeps asks them to get involved in raising awareness of the STI and the importance of testing. Syphilis is curable and prompt treatment during pregnancy is safe and effective for the parent. Treatment can also prevent congenital syphilis in an unborn baby.
On the Lady Peeps website, sexually active people can find more information about syphilis and where to get tested. There’s also a variety of information and resources for use in medical settings and pharmacies for both patients and pharmacy staff to help raise awareness about syphilis and the importance of testing, including posters, videos, and booklets in English, traditional Chinese, and Vietnamese.
Remember, anyone who’s ever had sex can get syphilis. Take control of your sexual health and ask your doctor for a test!