Syphilis Outbreak

Information for Albertans

Overview | Who Should Get Tested | How to Get Tested

If you are a healthcare provider, visit Syphilis Outbreak Information for Health Professionals.


Alberta declared a syphilis outbreak in 2019 with 2,331 cases of syphilis reported that year. The outbreak continues with over 3,300 new cases reported in 2022. 

We are seeing a continuing increase in syphilis in the past several years that is deeply concerning. The rate of syphilis has increased by more than 18 times since 2014, when only 160 cases were reported.

Syphilis rates are increasing across Canada and internationally. Alberta has not seen such high levels of syphilis since the 1940’s.

Syphilis can be transmitted to babies when mothers are infected during pregnancy; this has resulted in over 290 infants being born with congenital syphilis since 2014. Congenital syphilis is a severe and life threatening illness with up to 20% of babies born with congenital syphilis being stillborn.

Cases of syphilis have been observed across all genders, sexual orientation, and age groups in this outbreak. Therefore, anyone engaging in unprotected sex outside a mutually monogamous relationship is at risk of syphilis infection and needs to use protection and get tested.

Syphilis can be treated but requires a special antibiotic provided by your healthcare provider.

Who Should Get Tested

STI testing is private and free to anyone in Alberta, and walk-in clinics are available throughout the province.

  • Anyone experiencing STI-related symptoms.
  • Anyone with a sexual partner who has an STI
  • Anyone in a new, anonymous, or multiple sexual partners, should be screened every 3-6 months.
  • All pregnant persons should be tested in the first trimester and again at the time of delivery.

How to Get Tested

Call Health Link at 811, see your family physician / nurse practitioner, visit a walk-in medical clinic, or contact a STI or sexual health clinic.

AHS encourages all healthcare providers in Alberta to discuss STI/HIV screening with all sexually active persons during routine office visits.

Alberta Health Services, in partnership with Alberta Health and community partners, have been working together to support initiatives to address the ongoing transmission.