Syphilis, caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, is a chronic bacterial infection with a global distribution. Although this sexually transmitted disease is 100 per cent curable with penicillin, syphilis remains a health threat, with an annual incidence rate of 12 million active infections. In BC, new cases are being reported at almost double the national rate. Unchecked, the infection can damage every tissue and organ in the body, including the brain. Equally troubling, syphilis infection drastically increases vulnerability to HIV infection.