4 years ago

Factors associated with syphilis treatment failure and reinfection: a longitudinal cohort study in Shenzhen, China

Li Zhang, Yi Ding, Tao Zhang, Qiuhong Wu, Zhenzhou Luo, Tiejian Feng, Lin Zhu, Jun Yuan, Min Zhang, Guomao Zhou, Wu Li, Jianping Ma, Zhongwei Chen, Tubao Yang, Lishan Tian



The treatment failure and reinfection rates among syphilis patients are high, and relevant studies in China are limited. The aim of this study was to detect the rates of treatment failure and reinfection after syphilis treatment and to explore the potential associated factors.


We conducted a longitudinal cohort study in a sexually transmitted disease clinic, the Department of Dermatology and Venereology in Nanshan Center for Chronic Disease Control. Serological testing was performed at baseline and throughout the 2-year follow-up for syphilis patients. To identify potential predictors of treatment outcomes, multivariate logistics analyses were utilized to compare the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients with serological failure/reinfection to those with serological cure/serofast.


From June 2011 to June 2016, a total of 1133 patients were screened for syphilis. Among the 770 patients who completed the 2-year follow-up, 510 first-diagnosed patients were included in the final analysis. Multivariate logistics analysis revealed the stage of syphilis (secondary syphilis VS. primary syphilis: adjusted odds ratio, 3.50; 95% confidence interval, 1.11-15.47; p = 0.04), HIV status (positive VS. negative: adjusted odds ratio, 3.06; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-8.04; p = 0.02) and frequency of condom use (always use VS. never use: adjusted odds ratio, 0.28; 95% confidence interval 0.08-0.75; p = 0.02) were significantly associated with the serological outcome.


The clinical implications of our findings suggest that it is very important to perform regular clinical and serologic evaluations after treatment. Health counseling and safety education on sex activity should be intensified among HIV-infected patients and secondary syphilis patients after treatment.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12879-017-2715-z

DOI: 10.1186/s12879-017-2715-z

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