What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a potentially life-threatening bacterium that also increases the likelihood of acquiring or transmitting HIV. It is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Congenital syphilis causes irreversible health problems or death in as many as 40% of all live babies born to women with untreated syphilis. There are three stages of syphilis: Primary, Secondary and Latent. Primary is marked by a sore that left untreated, progresses to the Secondary stage which includes rashes, fever, swollen glands, sore throat, hair loss, headaches, and muscle aches. The Latent stage progresses unknown to the carrier, eventually damaging internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints.

As part of your STD screening programme, make sure you include a Syphilis STD test. STD testing for syphilis is a simple blood test.

How is Syphilis treated?

Syphilis can be cured with antibiotics. You can receive a prescription from any of the Better2Know clinics. If left untreated, Syphilis can cause miscarriages, premature births, stillbirths, or death of newborn babies. There is also risk of deformities, delays in development, or seizures along with many other problems such as rash, fever, swollen liver and spleen, anaemia, and jaundice. Rarely, the symptoms of syphilis go unseen in infants so that they develop the symptoms of late-stage syphilis, including damage to their bones, teeth, eyes, ears, and brain. Increased risk of becoming infected with HIV is also a feature. Many people infected with syphilis do not have any symptoms for years, yet remain at risk for late complications if they are not treated, so it is important to get an STD test including syphilis regularly.

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