The combined infection rates for a trio of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis—reached an all-time high in 2018, according to figures released in 2019 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The statistics show that cases of all three STDs together soared to 2.4 million in the United States that year, the highest annual figure recorded in this country since the government began keeping comprehensive records in 1991.

Of the three, perhaps most alarming is the rapid resurgence of syphilis. The United States has seen a 14 percent growth in the syphilis infection rate since 1991. So, what’s happening here?

Why is this so serious?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that often flies below the radar today. It makes sense: Not only is syphilis relatively uncommon and unknown these days, but a terrifying characteristic of the disease is that symptoms