The Lubbock Health Department has issued an alert for syphilis, since 8 cases have been reported in Lubbock this year.
Seven of those cases have occurred in bisexual men between the ages of 19 and 24. All are reported to have primary syphilis, which describes the early stage of the disease when it is extremely contagious.
"Primary syphilis is characterized by cancer sores in the area that you are infected. It's a skin on skin contact disease. So even if you are practicing safe sex and you use a condom, if it is in the area that the condom doesn't cover, it's infectious to other people," said Ricky Vaughn, a Disease Intervention Specialist with the Lubbock Health Department.
So, syphilis can be passed from person to person just by kissing, if there is a sore hidden somewhere in the mouth.
Vaughn says another concern is that since symptoms come and go. A person may put off going to the doctor thinking that the problem is gone, but if left untreated, syphilis can be fatal, even to a newborn if the mother has been infected.
You can get free and confidential testing for syphilis at the Lubbock Health Department, just call 775-2931 to schedule an appointment.
Click here to learn more about the STD, syphilis.