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Best of ACTHIV® 2023: Syphilis and Its Management Among Persons with HIV: Case-Based Approaches


Published Date: 09/15/2023

Expiration Date: 09/15/2024

CE Credit: CME:0.5


Selected by attendees and the program planning committee as one of the best sessions of the ACTHIV® 2023 conference for the frontline HIV care team, this module will utilize cases to illustrate when syphilis titers should be performed to trend response to treatment, the interpretation of syphilis titers, how to identify when there has been a serologic treatment failure and what to do about it, and determining when a lumbar puncture is necessary. 


Judith A. O’Donnell,MD

Judith A. O’Donnell, MD, is a Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, and has been the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center since 2010. Since arriving at Penn in 2007, she has served as the Hospital Epidemiologist and Director, Department of Infection Prevention and Control and Healthcare Epidemiology at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Since 2021 she has also served as an Associate Chief Medical Officer in Healthcare Epidemiology for the University of Pennsylvania Health System. She is a graduate of Temple University School of Medicine, and completed her Internal Medicine residency training and Infectious Diseases fellowship training at Temple University Hospital. Dr. O’Donnell began her academic career at Drexel College of Medicine, and developed expertise in public health epidemiology as the Medical Director of the STD Control Program at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. This experience sparked her lifelong passion around both epidemiology, public health, and the management of STIs, in particular syphilis. She has continuously served as a Steering Committee member and lecturer for the regional STD/HIV Prevention Training Center at Johns Hopkins University and the Baltimore Department of Public Health since 1995. Since 2004, Dr. O’Donnell has been focused on healthcare epidemiology, specifically on optimizing the inpatient environment to minimize risk of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), promoting best practices to prevent HAIs, and developing and implementing innovative processes to prevent HAIs. Dr. O’Donnell has won several quality awards around a variety of aspects of prevention of healthcare-associated infections. She has been recognized as a Fellow in the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and in the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). She provides both inpatient and outpatient Infectious Diseases consultative services at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where she continues to be excited by the practice of clinical ID every day. In addition to her clinical interest in HAI management, she has expertise in nontuberculous mycobacteria infections, orthopedic-related infections, infective endocarditis, and sexually transmitted diseases, with a special emphasis on syphilis.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe when syphilis titers should be performed to trend response to treatment
  • Explain how to interpret syphilis titers
  • Identify when there has been a serologic treatment failure and what to do about it
  • Collaborate with your team to provide treatment for syphilis of all stages
  • Determine when a lumbar puncture is necessary

Continuing Education Credit Information