Syphilis is an infection caused by a bacteria that if undetected or untreated, can lead to serious chronic health issues.

How would I get it?

  • Spread through unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex, mutual masturbation or sharing of sex toys with an infected person,
  • or direct contact with the bacteria that may be in a syphilitic sore or rash
  • Mom can pass on to baby during birth

What kind of symptoms could I have if I am infected?

  • Syphilis is known as the great imitator for mimicking other illnesses and it passes through stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary) with each having different symptoms.
  • Some people who are infected may not have any symptoms at all!

The following symptoms are a few of the more common symptoms throughout all stages:

  • Often painless ulcer or sore at the point of infection, most often genitals, anus, or throat
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Rash, especially on the palms of hands and soles of feet
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Eye infection
  • Meningitis
  • Flat smooth warts on your genitals

When a syphilis infection reaches the last stage (tertiary) it can affect the brain, heart, bones, or blood vessels and in rare cases these complications that can lead to death

How do I prevent this?

  • Condoms and dental dams

How do I get tested?

  • Blood test or swab of an infected area Results take 1-2 weeks to come back

What if I test positive?

  • You will be provided with antibiotic treatment and you may need a few doses depending on what stage you are in.
  • The infection can cause serious health problems if untreated.
  • Syphilis is a publicly reportable disease and someone from public health will likely be contacting you.
  • It is important that your partner(s) from the last 3 months and maybe further back will need to be notified.  Public health can assist you in this process if you wish.

How do I know it’s gone?

  • You will have to have follow up testing to make sure the treatment worked.
  • We also recommend regular testing if you are at risk of a new infection.

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