Preventing Congenital Syphilis

About Us

With full support of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and UTRGV School of Medicine Healthy Families, we aim to increase provider and patient awareness of rising congenital syphilis rates in Texas. This is done through assisting knowledge and resources available to support community members in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital syphilis.

What is Congenital Syphilis?

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that spreads through sexual contact (oral, vaginal, and anal). Syphilis usually starts as a painless sore but can progress to different areas and get worse if the person does not take antibiotics. Congenital syphilis occurs when syphilis is passed from a woman to her developing infant during her pregnancy or at time of birth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DSHS, adverse health outcomes of untreated syphilis during pregnancy include premature delivery, stillbirth, fever, anemia, growth retardation, blindness, deafness, and deformity of the face, teeth, and bones.

Texas law requires syphilis tests at three points during pregnancy:

  • First prenatal visit
  • Third trimester of pregnancy (not earlier than 28 weeks of gestation)
  • The time of delivery

Syphilis can be treated by injection of penicillin into the muscle. If you are allergic to penicillin, your health care provider may prescribe an alternative treatment.

Testing Locations for Congenital Syphilis

  • UT Health RGV OB/GYN
    • 3804 South Jackson Road, Ste #3, Edinburg, TX 78539
    • (956) 296-3041
  • UT Health RGV AHEC Bob Clark
    • 9901 California Road, Brownsville, TX 78521
    • (956) 296-1681
  • UT Health RGV AHEC La Victoria
    • 532 Gabriela Street, Rio Grande City, TX 78582
    • (956) 296-1650
  • UT Health RGV AHEC San Carlos
    • 230 86th St, Edinburg, TX 78542
    • (956) 296-1711
  • Access Esperanza Clinics (FREE TESTING)
    • 916 E. Hackberry Ave., Suite B, McAllen, TX 78501
    • 956-688-3700
    • 1201 N. Conway, Mission, TX 78572
    • 956-585-4575
    • 302 S. Veterans Blvd., Edinburg, TX 78539
    • 956-383-5084
    • 901 S. James St., Weslaco, TX 78596
    • 956-968-5039
  • Westbrook Clinic (FREE TESTING)
    • 857 E. Washington Suite G, Brownsville, TX, 78520, US
    • 956-541-2600
    • 2306 Camelot Plaza, Harlingen, TX, 78550, US
    • 956-428-2653
    • 300 S. 2nd Street Suite 101, McAllen, TX, 78501, US
    • 956-668-1155

Insurance Information

Locations that do not provide free testing accept several types of private and public health insurance plans. We strongly encourage you to verify your coverage plans acceptance as it may vary by location. If you are uninsured, there are financial assistance programs offered per clinic.

Provider Survey

In collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the UTRGV School of Medicine is committed to enhancing provider awareness regarding the escalating rates of congenital syphilis in Texas. The goal is to collaborate with healthcare providers to actively reduce the incidence of syphilis infections among newborns.

This questionnaire aims to gather data from healthcare professionals to support public health initiatives in tackling the increasing prevalence of congenital syphilis in Texas. Your participation, taking around 5-10 minutes, will offer valuable perspectives on healthcare delivery in our area, contributing to our understanding of the situation.

Congenital Syphilis Provider Survey

Project PI

Candace A. Robledo, PhD, MPH

Candace A. Robledo, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor, Population Health & Biostatistics
Phone: (956) 296-1937

Program Specialist

Amanda Gomez

Amanda Gomez
Program Specialist