Syphilis in pregnancy awareness campaign

This campaign raises awareness of syphilis in pregnancy and encourages sexually transmissible infection (STI) testing of females across Western Australia who are thinking about pregnancy or who are already pregnant.

Recently there has been a rise in syphilis rates amongst pregnant females and occurrences of congenital syphilis.

Congenital syphilis occurs when a pregnant mother passes the infection onto her unborn baby. Untreated syphilis in pregnancy can cause miscarriage, still birth, or long-term serious harm or infant death. Treatment of the mother with antibiotics, at least 30 days before the baby is born, is the best way of preventing congenital syphilis from occurring.

It is also possible for pregnant mothers who have already been treated for a syphilis infection to be reinfected, sometimes by a new partner or even by the same partner if they haven’t been properly treated as well.

If you think you might be at risk, ask your doctor for a syphilis blood test.

For more information visit HealthyWA.

  • Raise awareness amongst health providers about the rise in infectious syphilis rates amongst females of childbearing age and recent occurrences of congenital syphilis in Western Australia.
  • Raise awareness amongst target audience about syphilis in pregnancy, that it can cause long-term/serious harm to child and stillbirth.
  • Increase STI testing of target audience who are of childbearing age in metropolitan and regional centres in 2020.
  • Increase repeat syphilis testing of target audience during antenatal care
  • Reduce notification rates of infectious syphilis amongst target audience in metropolitan and regional centres in 2020.
  • Reduce notification rates of congenital syphilis in 2020.
Key messages

Overarching message:

  • syphilis rates are rising, particularly amongst females in metropolitan and regional Western Australia.

To consumers:

  • cases of syphilis in pregnant women have recently been reported in Western Australia
  • syphilis in pregnancy can cause miscarriage, still birth or infant death
  • if you are thinking about pregnancy or are already pregnant, ask your doctor or health provider for a syphilis blood test.

To health providers:

  • cases of pregnant women with syphilis and congenital syphilis have recently been reported in Western Australia
  • practise opportunistic testing of the target demographic
  • practice antenatal testing of the target demographic and offer repeat testing.
Target audience
  • Women aged 18–39 who are of childbearing age, planning a pregnancy, or pregnant
  • Health providers including GPs, sexual health clinics, street doctors, midwives, antenatal clinics, obstetricians, gynaecologists, and EDs.

Burst 1: March – April 2020

Burst 2: May – June 2020

Campaign materials

You are encouraged to download and share these materials to help us reach our target audience and achieve our campaign objectives.

Please be in touch if you need alternative formats and let us know how you are using these materials. Thanks for your support.


A4 campaign poster 1 – Pregnant (PDF 3.9MB)  A4 campaign poster 2 – Thinking about pregnancy (PDF 11.2MB)
poster thumbnail featuring group of four pregnant women each holding their tummy on a blue background   Poster thumbnail featuring a couple facing each other holding hands with their faces obscured on an orange background

Digital assets and social media assets


Pregnant (GIF 52KB) Thinking about pregnancy (GIF 48KB)

Contact us

The campaign is coordinated by the Sexual Health Blood-borne Virus Program (SHBBVP) program team in conjunction with the Communications Directorate.

Contact us if you need further information or materials in alternative formats.


Last reviewed: 04-03-2020
Produced by

Public Health