Did you know there is a national syphilis outbreak? GP Down South is funded under a grant scheme to be part of the WA Syphilis Outbreak Response Group. A Registered Nurse (RN) works across the Peel Health Hub and Nidjalla Waangan Mia sites to promote education and awareness of the syphilis outbreak and how we, as a community , can reduce the number of cases by increasing screening , understanding of treatment options and promoting prevention.
To keep it light and engaging, we decided to get creative. The Cupcake Challenge was an opportunity achieve all objectives, whilst maintaining a bit of fun and minimising any stigma.
Each cupcake was decorated with a symbol that could be related to the Syphilis Outbreak. Participants were able to take a cake and tell the RN what it stood for, or ask what it was about. Short, succinct answers and a few laughs were had and then followed by as much cake as you wanted.
Some examples of cake decorations:
A smiley face: because you’ll be smiling when you have a screening test and get the all clear; The number 4: there are 4 stages of syphilis; The number 3: there are 3 stages we can treat you at with just one jab of benzathine penicillin; Love hearts: because it’s all about the love! Any type of lovemaking can pass the bacteria on; Wiggly snake lollies: because this is the shape of the syphilis bacteria as seen under a microscope; Red dots of irregular shapes: the rash if found in the secondary stage. It is irregular in red colour and appears usually on your hands and feet. Seek a screening test as soon as possible; A question mark ???: why are we talking about syphilis? There has been an outbreak across the Nation and numbers are rising; A gummy baby lolly: as syphilis can be passed from Mum to baby and congenital syphilis causes brain and heart defects. Get tested and treated before 30 weeks gestation and we can change the outcome for both mum and bub; Long lolly sticks representing the penicillin injection which can stop syphilis in it’s tracks.
If you have any other suggestions for future decorations – get in touch. After all, we’re all in this together!
GP down south is an exemplary not-for-profit community organisation. We have been providing health and wellbeing services in the Peel regions and the South West of WA since 1994.