Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by infection with Treponema pallidum bacterium. People infected with syphilis at the primary stage normally have no symptoms. In case they do, a single sore or multiple sores can be found. The sores can be firm, round and painless. During the secondary stage, skin rashes, mucous patch or hair fall can be found. This stage is between 6 weeks to 6 months after the infection. The symptoms from these stages will go away whether or not you receive treatment. Without the right treatment, your infection will move to the latent and possibly tertiary stage of syphilis. You can continue to have syphilis in your body for years without any signs or symptoms. Most people with untreated syphilis do not develop tertiary syphilis. However, when it does happen, it can affect many different organ systems. These include the heart and blood vessels, and the brain and nervous system. Tertiary syphilis is very serious and would occur 10–30 years after your infection began. In tertiary syphilis, the disease damages your internal organs and can result in death.

Transmission

  • • Condomless vaginal, neovaginal or anal sex
  • • Condomless oral sex
  • • Contact with the bacterium through kissing

Treatment

Syphilis can be treated with benzathine penicillin G 2.4 million units injected to gluteal (hip) muscle. It is recommended to bring your sexual partners to testing and treatment. During treatment period and 1-2 weeks after, it is recommended to avoid sexual activities or to use condom, as it may transmit the disease to others.

Prevention

  • • Use condom when having sex
  • • Regular sexual health check-ups when at risk

Screening/Testing

Testing can be done by blood drawing, and the result will be known approximately within an hour.

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