STD Info

Syphilis Symptoms

Syphilis is an infection that is bacterial in nature. There are three very distinct stages to syphilis, and each stage has different symptoms. Many of the symptoms are the same as other STDs, so it is important to get tested in order to distinguish if syphilis is present. If left untreated, this disease will cause painful and harmful consequences.

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The disease is transmitted when contact is made with one of the chancre sores on a cut or open wound. It can also be transmitted through oral, anal, or vaginal sex. It is more common to contract the disease when the infected person is in the first or second stage, but can also happen in the beginning of the last stage. If you feel that your sexual partner may have syphilis, it is important for him/her to get treated as well, because the disease can be re-contracted after treatment has been completed.

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Testing for syphilis is done with a simple blood test. The Rapid Plasma Reagin Test used for the diagnosis of syphilis detects syphilis antibodies in the bloodstream. It is important to know how long it has been since a potential exposure to know when it is the right time to test. It takes time for antibodies to the virus to be produced, so we recommend waiting 3 months before performing the syphilis antibody test. If you are concerned about a potential recent exposure within the last 3 months, we would recommend another testing method called a Cascade Test. A Cascade Test can detect syphilis much sooner than the Rapid Plasma Reagin Test. We recommend waiting at least 11 days after a potential exposure before performing a Cascade Test.

Syphilis is simple to treat if it is detected early enough, so we recommended getting tested regularly. It requires an injection of Penicillin or another similar antibiotic to cure the infection.