Syphilis is often referred to as a silent infection, with many people experiencing little or no symptoms in the initial stages. This can be particularly damaging as those with undetected Syphilis infections are more likely to transmit the STI to others without knowing.
In a recent interview with the BBC, one former Syphilis patient called for a broader public debate on an STI that is ‘not discussed at all.’
“There were no symptoms,” said the individual, using the name Gavin. “You don’t know you’ve got it and it just kind of lies dormant. Then you spread it round and you have no idea.” Gavin’s Syphilis infection had reached the secondary stage by the time it was detected, and he also discovered that he had HIV at the same time. He is now urging those who have had unprotected sex to get tested as soon as possible.
Gavin is now free from Syphilis following effective antibiotic treatment and his campaign comes in light of record Syphilis statistics. Last year, Public Health England (PHE) revealed that there had been almost 6,000 cases of Syphilis. That is a 12% rise on the year before and ‘the largest number of Syphilis diagnoses reported since 1949’. The PHE report stated that these results are ‘consistent with the increasing trend seen in recent years’, and that ‘since 2012, Syphilis diagnoses have risen by 97%’.
Dr Patrick French, a sexual health and HIV consultant at the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, spoke to the Nursing Times about PHE’s findings. He said that the increase in Syphilis cases was ‘deeply disappointing’ and emphasised the importance of ‘sexual health promotion and easy access to high quality testing and treatment services’. This makes getting tested for Syphilis even more pressing, especially when it comes to the safety of your health and that of any current or future partners. Early detection is key to preventing long-term damage to your system.
Syphilis can be transmitted through sexual contact, including anal, vaginal and oral intercourse. The infection goes through three stages:
Further symptoms of a Syphilis infection can include a non-itching rash on the palms of the hands or bottoms of the feet, white patches in or around the mouth and skin growths comparable to Genital Warts.
Better2Know offers a variety of testing options for Syphilis. We are the UK’s largest provider of private STI testing services. Our team of highly trained sexual health advisors will ensure your confidential patient journey is as simple and stress-free as possible. Samples are collected by qualified nurses or clinicians at your private appointment before being sent to Better2Know’s CPA accredited laboratory to be analysed. Each test and screen has a specific period of incubation; this is the time between possible infection and getting tested. Here are some of our suggested Syphilis testing options:
To book your confidential Syphilis test with Better2Know today, contact our Patient Services team on the number above. They will answer any additional questions you may have and are available 24/7 for your convenience. To book online, simply select the orange button at the top of the page and follow the instructions.