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.
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.
If diagnosed early, syphilis can be easily treated with antibiotics, usually penicillin injections.
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
DON'T WAIT ... TAKE ACTION and READ RELATED ITEMS
Contraception, pregenancy testing, the morning after pill and STI advice and treatment through appointments - telephone and online and drop ins. Full information on session opening times available.
You can make an appointment online or you can go to a drop-in clinic (which means you can just turn up).
What are they? and where you can go to get tested and treated and stay safe in complete confidence
No information will be passed on to anyone like your parents, teachers, GP/family doctor or social worker without your knowlege.
A Condom will protect you from a pregnancy and most Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) find out where to get FREE condoms
When you have sex, both of you are responsible for protecting yourselves against pregnancy and STIs.