WHAT IS IT?
Syphilis is an STD that can cause long-term complications if not treated correctly. Symptoms in adults are divided into stages. These stages are primary, secondary, latent, and late syphilis. You can get syphilis by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Sores can be found on the penis, vagina, anus, in the rectum, or on the lips and in the mouth. Syphilis can also be spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby. You should get tested regularly for syphilis if you are pregnant, are a man who has sex with men, have HIV infection, and/or have partner(s) who have tested positive for syphilis.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- Sore(s) where syphilis entered your body
- Lasts 3-6 weeks and heals on its own.
- Can be painless
- Skin rashes and/or sores in your mouth, vagina, or anus
- Rough, red/reddish brown rash on palms and/or bottoms of feet
- Swollen Lymph glands
- Sore throat
- Patchy hair loss
- Headaches and muscle aches
- Weight loss
- These symptoms will go away even without treatment
- Very serious and if it develops it will occur 10-30 years after infection
- Difficulty coordinating muscle movement
HOW CAN I PREVENT CONTRACTING THIS DISEASE?
- There is no vaccine for Syphilis
- Syphilis can be cured with the right antibiotics
- Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of syphilis. Condoms prevent transmission of syphilis by preventing contact with a sore. Sometimes sores occur in areas not covered by a condom. Contact with these sores can still transmit syphilis. (Condom Fact Sheet)
- Abstain from vaginal, anal, and oral sex
- If you are sexually active getting tested for syphilis or other STDs
- Long term monogamous relationship with a partner whom status you know to be negative