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Syphilis is a serious STD that can cause long-term health problems if left untreated. It’s important to know the symptoms of syphilis and get tested if you think you may have been exposed. Syphilis is caused by a bacteria called Treponema pallidum. It’s usually transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Syphilis can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth. If you think you may have syphilis, it’s important to see a healthcare provider for a test. Syphilis is easy to treat in its early stages, but it can cause serious health problems if it’s not treated.

Symptoms Of Syphilis

The symptoms of syphilis can be divided into three stages: primary, secondary, and latent.

Primary syphilis is marked by the appearance of a single sore called a chancre. The chancre is usually firm, round, and painless. It appears at the site of infection, which is usually on the genitals or around the anus. The chancre appearing is often the first symptom that alerts someone that they have syphilis.
Secondary syphilis occurs 4-10 weeks after the initial infection and is characterized by a rash on the body. The rash can appear as rough patches on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet, swollen lymph nodes, fever, muscle aches, and fatigue.
Latent syphilis is when someone has no symptoms but still tests positive for syphilis. This stage can last for years without any outward signs before progressing to tertiary syphilis.

How Syphilis Is Passed On

Syphilis is usually passed on through sexual contact with someone who has the infection. It can be passed on through:

  • vaginal, anal or oral sex
  • sharing sex toys
  • close physical contact, like kissing or touching
  • It can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth. This is called congenital syphilis.


Syphilis is not usually passed on through casual contact, like hugging, shaking hands or sharing toilet seats.

Testing For Syphilis

If you think you may have syphilis, it is important to get tested as soon as possible because if left untreated, syphilis can cause serious health problems, including brain damage and death.

There are two types of tests for syphilis: blood tests and spinal taps. Blood tests look for antibodies that your body has made in response to the infection. Spinal taps are used to check for the presence of the bacteria that causes syphilis in your nervous system. Both types of tests are generally very accurate in diagnosing syphilis.

If you do have syphilis, it is important to start treatment right away. Treatment for syphilis involves taking antibiotics. If you are pregnant and have syphilis, it is especially important to get treated early because syphilis can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or serious health problems for your baby.

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Treatment For Syphilis

There are a few different ways that syphilis can be treated, and the method of treatment will depend on how far along the infection is. For example, if someone has early syphilis (also called primary syphilis), they will likely be treated with a single dose of penicillin. However, if someone has late syphilis (also called secondary syphilis), they will need to be treated with multiple doses of penicillin over the course of several weeks.

If someone is allergic to penicillin, there are other antibiotics that can be used to treat syphilis. However, it is important to note that these alternative antibiotics are not as effective as penicillin and may need to be taken for a longer period of time.

It is also important to note that even after receiving treatment for syphilis, the infection can still remain in your body. This means that you may need to undergo regular check-ups and tests in order to make sure that the infection has not returned.

How To Prevent Syphilis

If you are sexually active, the best way to prevent syphilis is to use a latex condom every time you have sex. You can also get vaccinated against syphilis. If you think you might have syphilis, contact your doctor immediately and get tested.

Complications Of Syphilis If Left Untreated

If left untreated, syphilis can cause serious complications, including brain damage, blindness, and death.

There are four stages of syphilis: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary.

Primary syphilis is characterized by the appearance of a single sore (called a chancre) at the site of infection. The chancre is usually firm, round, and painless. It typically appears 3-6 weeks after exposure to the bacteria.

Secondary syphilis occurs 4-10 weeks after the initial infection and is characterized by a rash on the body, fever, fatigue, muscle aches, and headaches. The rash often appears as red or brown spots on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. Secondary syphilis can also cause swollen lymph nodes and sores in the mouth or genital area.

Latent syphilis occurs when symptoms of secondary syphilis disappear. However, the bacteria remain in the body and can still cause damage to organs even though there are no symptoms present. Latent syphilis can last for years without being treated.

Tertiary syphilis is the most severe stage of the disease and can occur 10-30 years after initial infection if untreated. Tertiary syphilis can damage any organ in the body but most commonly affects the brain, heart, nerves, eyes, bones

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Confidential STD Testing | 10 Test Panel $139 | Local STD Testing in the US
Your results will not be reported to your insurance company and therefore will not be placed on your permanent medical records.