What are the symptoms of syphilis?
The first symptoms of syphilis may not be seen immediately. The primary stage begins within 10 days to three months of being infected. A sore, called a chancre, appears, usually on the part of the body exposed the partner’s ulcer, such as the penis or vagina. The chancre may be painless and go unnoticed, and it heals within a few weeks.
What will happen if I don’t get treated?
Secondary syphilis begins three to six weeks after the chancre appears. It is marked by a skin rash that usually heals in several weeks or months. There may be other symptoms as well, such as fever and sore throat. If untreated, syphilis may continue into a latent stage, during which you have no symptoms and are no longer contagious. However, about one-third of all cases will advance into the complications of late, or tertiary, syphilis. In these cases, the can damage the heart, eyes, brain, nervous system, bones, , or almost any other part of the body. This stage can last for years, with the final stage leading to mental illness, blindness, other neurological problems, heart disease
, and death. Syphilis infection can be much more persistent and potentially more serious if the patient is HIV positive.
How is syphilis transmitted?
The is passed on through direct contact with a syphilis sore. This generally happens through sexual contact, such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex. An infected pregnant woman can spread the disease to her fetus, with serious and potentially fatal consequences for the baby.
How is it treated?
Syphilis can be treated with the antibiotic penicillin. Newly acquired infections can be cured easily. A longer treatment may be needed to cure someone who has been infected for more than a year. A previously treated person can become infected with syphilis a second time if exposed again.
How can syphilis be prevented?
Sexually active young men and women can reduce their risk of syphilis by reducing their numbers of partners and using condoms correctly and consistently during sexual intercourse.