You are on page 1of 2

What is syphilis?

Syphilis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium (germ) called Treponema pallidum.


Syphilis is one of the less common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK. The number
of cases are, however, rising. In the UK, the rates of infection are highest amongst homosexual
(gay) men - or men who have sex with men.
How do you get syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. The infection is passed from person to person
through contact with a syphilis ulcer . So, depending where the ulcer is, the infection can be
passed on during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
How is syphilis diagnosed?
A swab (small sample) from the sore can be looked at under the microscope. The typical
bacteria can be seen.

Blood test
What is the treatment for syphilis?
Because syphilis is caused by a bacterium, it is readily treatable with antibiotics.
Penicillin injections.
Other antibiotics are sometimes used if you are allergic to penicillin.
It is important to avoid sex until the syphilis sores are completely healed and a test
confirms that the syphilis infection is gone. Remember that it is not just penetration and
ejaculation that lead to transmission of syphilis. It is caught by close skin-to-skin (sexual) contact
with the oozing serum from the chancre.
What are the signs and symptoms
Primary syphilis(10 DAYS -3 MONTHS AFTER THE XPOSURE)
The most common symptom is the appearance of a small, painless sore or ulcer (called a
chancre).
Secondary syphilis(few weeks after the disappearance of the sore).
a non-itchy skin rash appearing anywhere on the body, but commonly on the palms of the hands
or soles of the feet
tiredness
headaches
swollen lymph glands
fever
weight loss
patchy hair loss
joint pains
Latent phase
Syphilis will then move into its latent (hidden) phase, where you will experience no symptoms,
even though you remain infected
Tertiary syphilis(YEARS OR DECADES AFTER INITIAL INFECTION)
stroke
dementia
loss of co-ordination
numbness
paralysis
blindness
deafness
heart disease
skin rashes
At this stage, syphilis can be dangerous enough to cause death