Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. What’s concerning about Syphilis is that it can often go undetected, and many people can have Syphilis and not know it.
In this blog post, we will dive deep into whether someone can have Syphilis and not know it, and how the STI can become dormant, ensuring that the people who have it may not know they have it.
You can get Syphilis in several different ways.
Syphilis is most commonly spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who already has the STI.
The bacteria enter the body when it comes into direct contact with areas such as the penis, vagina, anus, mouth or throat. This makes it incredibly easy for the infection to be spread if two people do not use protection during any type of sexual activity – even if no penetration takes place. Therefore, people should always wear condoms to reduce their risk of contracting any kind of STI from another person during sex (even if they are engaging in foreplay).
While Syphilis is mainly transferred through sexual intercourse, it can also be contracted via other forms of skin-to-skin contact between two people who have open sores or lesions. This means that even if someone does not have penetrative sex, it is possible for them to contract Syphilis by coming into contact with another person who has the infection.
Another way in which Syphilis can be spread is through a pregnant mother who has an active case of the STI. This is known as Congenital Syphilis, which is when an unborn baby is infected with the bacteria before birth due to the mother having the infection. This can result in a range of health complications for the baby that can be serious and long-lasting if left untreated.
Syphilis symptoms can be difficult to differentiate from other infections. That’s why this STI is so difficult to diagnose through symptoms alone.
In the initial stages of the infection, the symptoms of Syphilis can include a chancre or sore on the genitals, rectum, anus, lips, or mouth; rough, red, or reddish-brown rashes on the palms of the hand or bottoms of the feet; fatigue; nausea; muscle aches; fever; headaches; and a sore throat.
Once initial symptoms subside, the infection enters a latent stage that can last for years. During latent Syphilis, no symptoms are immediately obvious. This latency period makes it easy for the infected person to think that the infection has passed when, in reality, the disease has only entered into a dormant phase.
During tertiary Syphilis, the infection can cause serious damage to several organ systems, including the eyes, ears, brain, nervous system, bones, joints, and more. This stage of the infection usually occurs 10-30 years after the initial infection. In certain instances, it can result in the death of the infected person.
Syphilis is an incredibly dangerous infection that must be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to avoid causing the infected person untold harm.
Syphilis can be easily mistaken for other infections, and the latency period of the infection means that people can have it for years and not even know it. That’s why getting tested regularly is important to stay on top of your sexual health.
Better2Know is here to help, and our team of Sexual Health Advisors can guide you through the testing process and support you every step of the way. Call the number listed above and schedule your next STI test now.