Sexual Health 101: All About Syphilis

By marthe

It’s time to learn all about syphilis!

What is it?

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that’s spread through sex and is easily cured with antibiotic medicine. Syphilis causes sores on your genitals, that’s called chancres, these are often painless and not that easy to notice. The infection is one of the more severe ones if it’s not treated, as it can cause permanent damage. Worst case scenario if not treated, is brain damage, paralysis, and blindness.

How do you get it?

Syphilis is spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. The way in which to prevent it is by using condoms and/or dental dams every time you have sex. The bacterial infection is spread when there is skin contact with the syphilis sores, thus one can get infected even though no one cums.

What are the symptoms?

Early stage syphilis

The symptoms of syphilis can be confusing, many don’t notice the symptoms, or have very light symptoms that easily can be confused with other conditions such as rash and pimples. The sores may also hide deep in your vagina, under your foreskin, inside your rectum, and other places that are hard to see.

The symptoms of syphilis in the early stages are syphilis sores, chancres. Chancres are usually firm, round, and painless, or sometimes open and wet. There’s often only one sore, but you may have more. Chancres typically show up anywhere between 3 weeks and 3 months after you get the infection. The sores usually last about 3 to 6 weeks and then go away on their own, even without any treatment.

Secondary stage syphilis

Secondary stage symptoms include rashes on the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, or other parts of your body. The secondary syphilis rash is sometimes hard to see, and it usually doesn’t itch. The symptoms from this stage will also go away by themselves with or without treatment. These symptoms usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks at a time.

Late stage syphilis

In between the stages the infection can be latent, but you will still need treatment.

Late stages of syphilis can cause tumors, blindness, and paralysis. Having untreated syphilis for a long time will give you severe health issues. It can damage your nervous system, brain and other organs, and may even kill you.

Treatment for Syphilis?

Syphilis can be easily cured with antibiotics. Your sexual partners need to be treated, too. If you don’t treat syphilis, it can lead to very serious health problems. The treatment does not reverse health problems brought by syphilis. It will stop the infection, but if cured in the late stages, you won’t be able to cure already occurred problems.

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