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Syphilis: What is it?

What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by a bacterial infection. It is usually contracted during sexual intercourse. If not treated, this STD can cause long-term complications. In its early stages, syphilis can be treated easily.

This infection progresses through several stages. When syphilis gets to its later stages, it becomes hard to treat it and it can be very dangerous to the body. The syphilis infection can be passed during unprotected sex with an infected person, which can be sexual oral or anal. The infection can also be passed from mother to the fetus during pregnancy.

Learn more about syphilis from the CDC.

Signs and symptoms of syphilis

The first sign of syphilis is the appearance of a single sore. One or more sores may appear at the location where syphilis entered the body. These sores are usually firm, round and painless, so it is easy for them to go unnoticed. The sore will heal — whether or not the person is treated.

If the person infected is not treated at this point, the infection will progress to the next stage.

During the secondary stage, the common symptoms include skin rashes and sores. Rashes may begin appearing at the same time as the sores, or several weeks after the sores have healed. Rashes may be noticeable or very faint. Some people also experience headaches, weight loss, muscle aches or fever, among other symptoms.

If the disease is still untreated, it will progress into the late and latent stages. People can show signs of late syphilis up to 30 years after infection. Symptoms of the late stage include numbness, gradual blindness, difficulty coordinating muscle movements and dementia. The disease damages the internal organs and can result in death.

Preventing syphilis

You can help prevent being infected with syphilis by using condoms to reduce the risk. There is still a risk of contraction. Abstaining from sexual contact is the safest way to prevent being infected. If you have one partner, make sure that both of you are tested for syphilis and other STDs. Talk to your partner about testing to make sure each of you are protected. If you’re ready to get tested with your partner, find an TEST SMARTLY LABS location near you.

sexually transmitted disease syphilis


posted in Syphilis and have Comments (8)


  1. Comment by Charlie Broomfield on October 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    It seems that getting tested is always smart and paying attention to your body is also important. If you notice something not normal get it checked out.

  2. Comment by Stuart Jones on October 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    I knew that syphilis was pretty bad, but had no idea it caused dementia and even death, if untreated.

  3. Comment by Amy Ray on October 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    They may not seem to be life threatening at first, but you should always make sure to visit a clinic at the first sign.

  4. Comment by Jim Pierce on October 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Even the littlest of signs can potentially lead to very harmful outbreaks. Protect yourself, and don’t be afraid to visit a clinic.

  5. Comment by Jen Fallot on October 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    You should have a constant awareness on your health. Knowing these types of dangers only urges us to push the education of protected sex.

  6. Comment by Simon Raphael on October 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I had no idea that syphilis could eventually lead to death. Sex education is the best way to educate everyone about the very real circumstances of these diseases.

  7. Comment by Amy Ray on October 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    You should always be careful, and the first thing you should do is visit a doctor to ensure you’re healthy.

  8. Comment by Richard Wagner on October 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    People need to be aware of these stds no matter how well they know their partner. It’s crazy that you can have it and not even know it.

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