Syphilis

you don't know by looking at someone that they have Syphilis

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a bacterial infection, the number of people with syphilis has risen in the UK in the past decade.

If not treated, syphilis can cause serious conditions such as stroke, paralysis, blindness, and even death.

 

Symptoms of Syphilis

The symptoms of syphilis develop in three stages:

  • stage 1 (primary syphilis) – a painless but highly infectious sore on the genitals, or sometimes around the mouth. If somebody else comes into close contact with the sore, typically during sexual contact, they can also become infected. The sore lasts two to six weeks before disappearing.
  • stage 2 (secondary syphilis) – a skin rash and sore throat, which may disappear within a few weeks, after which you will no symptoms, this stage can last for years.
  • stage 3 (tertiary syphilis) – around a third of people who are not treated for syphilis will develop tertiary syphilis. At this stage, it can cause serious damage to the body. 



How is Syphilis spread?
 

  • Though close contact with an infected sore, normally during vaginal, anal or oral sex, or by sharing sex toys with someone who is infected.
  • Pregnant women can pass the condition on to their unborn baby, which can cause stillbirth or the death of the baby shortly after labour.
  • You can catch syphilis if you share a needle with somebody who is infected.
  • Syphilis cannot be spread by using the same toilet, clothing, cutlery or bathroom as an infected person, as the bacteria cannot survive for long outside the human body.

Get tested

If you suspect you have syphilis, please go to the Integrated Sexual Health Service to have a blood test. The earlier syphilis is treated, the less chance there is of serious complications and passing on  the infection.

Treating syphilis

If diagnosed early, syphilis can be easily treated with antibiotics, usually penicillin injections.

Preventing Syphilis

You can reduce your risk of catching syphilis and other Sexually Transmitted Infection's (STIs) by:

  • using a male condom or female condom during vaginal, oral and anal sex - if you are aged 25 or under you can get free condoms from the c-card or from the Integrated Sexual Health Service at any age
  • using a dental dam (a square of plastic) during oral sex -  available from the c-card and the Integrated Sexual Health Service
  • avoiding sharing sex toys, and washing them and covering them with a condom each time they are used

GO TO PAGE TOP

DON'T WAIT ... TAKE ACTION and READ RELATED ITEMS


TAKE ACTION

READ THIS
Contraception Advice
ASC PHARMACIES
Pregnancy Advice
Termination Services
MARIE STOPES
Condoms
Chlamydia Testing
C-CARD SCHEME
Support for
young people
COMPASS