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
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
- Eye infection
- 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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