Syphilis: How to Spot, Treat and Prevent This Highly Contagious STD

Syphilis: A Comprehensive Guide to Symptoms, Causes, Complications, Prevention, and Care and Commonly Asked Questions


Syphilis infection is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI or STD). This infection is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It is a complex disease that progresses through stages and can have serious health consequences if left untreated. In this post, we will explore the symptoms, causes, health complications, prevention strategies, and care options associated with syphilis.

In the United States, syphilis is on the rise in recent years. According to some statistics, there were more than 115,000 cases of syphilis reported in 2018 in the United States, representing an alarming increase of 14% from the previous year.

* Please carefully read disclaimer at the end of this post.

Get yourself tested. Test now and get $10 off on your order, all over the United States (except North Dakota and Vermont).

Symptoms of Syphilis:

Syphilis can present with different symptoms depending on the stage of infection:

Primary Stage:

Small, painless sores or ulcers called chancres develop at the site of infection, typically on or around the genitals, anus, or mouth.

The sores may go unnoticed or heal on their own within a few weeks.

Secondary Stage:

A rash may appear on various parts of the body, including the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

Other symptoms may include fever, fatigue, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, hair loss, and weight loss.

The rash and other symptoms can come and go over several weeks or months.

Latent Stage:

In the absence of treatment, syphilis enters a latent stage with no visible symptoms.

The infection remains in the body and can persist for years without causing symptoms.

Tertiary Stage:

If left untreated, syphilis can progress to the tertiary stage, which can occur years after the initial infection.

Tertiary syphilis can lead to severe health complications, including damage to the brain, nerves, heart, blood vessels, bones, and other organs.

Causes of Syphilis:

Syphilis is primarily transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth, known as congenital syphilis. Direct contact with syphilis sores or rash during the primary or secondary stages of infection increases the risk of transmission.

Health Complications of Syphilis:

Neurological Complications:

Late-stage syphilis can affect the central nervous system, leading to symptoms such as paralysis, numbness, difficulty coordinating movements, and cognitive impairment.

Cardiovascular Complications:

Advanced syphilis can damage the heart and blood vessels, causing conditions like aortic aneurysm or inflammation of the heart valves.

Organ Damage:

Tertiary syphilis can affect various organs, including the liver, kidneys, bones, and joints, leading to serious health problems.

Get yourself tested. Test now and get $10 off on your order, all over the United States (except North Dakota and Vermont).

Prevention and Care for Syphilis:

Safe Sexual Practices:

Consistently using latex or polyurethane condoms during sexual activity can reduce the risk of syphilis transmission. However, syphilis sores may be present in areas not covered by condoms, so it is important to be cautious.

Routine Testing: 

Regular STI screenings, including syphilis testing, are recommended for individuals who are sexually active or have multiple sexual partners. Early detection allows for timely treatment.

Antimicrobial Therapy:

Syphilis can be effectively treated with antibiotics, typically penicillin. The specific treatment regimen will depend on the stage and duration of the infection. It is important to complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed.

Partner Notification:

If you are diagnosed with syphilis, it is crucial to inform your sexual partners so they can also get tested and receive appropriate treatment.

Preventing Congenital Syphilis:

Pregnant women should receive routine syphilis testing during prenatal care. Early detection and treatment can prevent transmission to the unborn child.


Syphilis is a complex STI that can cause serious health complications if not properly treated. Recognizing the symptoms, understanding the causes, and adopting preventive measures are essential steps in controlling the spread of syphilis. Regular testing, early treatment with antibiotics, and practicing safe sex can significantly reduce the risks associated with syphilis and its potential long-term complications. It is crucial to seek medical advice if you suspect you may have been exposed to syphilis or experience any related symptoms.

Most Commonly Asked Questions about Syphilis

What is syphilis?

Bacterium Treponema Pallidum is the cause of Syphilis. It is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI or STD). It can be transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Syphilis, if left untreated, can cause serious health complications.

What are the common symptoms of syphilis?

The symptoms vary from person to person and also on the stage of infection. In the primary stage, a painless sore called a chancre may appear at the site of infection. In the secondary stage, a rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and flu-like symptoms may occur. The latent stage may not present any symptoms. In the late stage, syphilis can affect various organs and systems, leading to severe health problems.

How is syphilis diagnosed?

Syphilis is diagnosed through blood tests, which detect antibodies produced in response to the infection. Two types of blood tests are commonly used: nontreponemal tests (such as the Rapid Plasma Reagin test) and treponemal tests (such as the Treponema pallidum particle agglutination assay). These tests can determine the presence of syphilis antibodies in the blood.

Get yourself tested. Test now and get $10 off on your order, all over the United States (except North Dakota and Vermont).

Can syphilis be cured?

Yes, syphilis can be cured with appropriate antibiotic treatment. Preferred treatment for syphilis is Penicillin. The type and duration of treatment depend on the stage and progression of the infection. It is crucial to complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed by a healthcare professional.

Is syphilis contagious?

Yes, syphilis is highly contagious and can be transmitted through sexual contact. It is important to practice safe sex by using condoms and having open and honest discussions about sexual health with partners.

Can syphilis be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy?

Yes, it's possible. Infected mother can transmit the infection to her unborn child. This is known as congenital syphilis and can have serious health consequences for the baby. Prenatal screening and appropriate treatment are essential to prevent transmission and protect the health of the baby.

How can we prevent from syphilis?

Preventive measures for syphilis include practicing safe sex, using condoms consistently and correctly, and getting tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections. Early detection and treatment of syphilis in infected individuals and their partners are crucial for preventing the spread of the infection.

Get yourself tested. Test now and get $10 off on your order, all over the United States (except North Dakota and Vermont).

Can syphilis be detected through a home test?

No, syphilis cannot be reliably detected through home testing kits. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Is it possible to get syphilis more than once?

Yes, it is possible to be reinfected with syphilis even if you have been treated before. Repeated exposure to the infection can occur through unprotected sexual contact with an infected individual. It is important to practice safe sex consistently, regardless of past infections or treatment.

Are there long-term health complications associated with syphilis?

Yes, if left untreated, syphilis can lead to severe health complications. These can include damage to the heart, brain, nerves, and other organs. Late-stage syphilis can cause serious and potentially life-threatening health problems. Early detection and treatment are essential to prevent long-term complications.

Get yourself tested. Test now and get $10 off on your order, all over the United States (except North Dakota and Vermont).

Remember, if you have any concerns or questions about syphilis, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide accurate information, testing, and appropriate treatment options based on your specific situation.


Disclaimer: This post is created for educational, informational and promotional purposes only and does not constitute providing medical advice or professional services. The information provided in the post should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. We highly recommend that those seeking personal medical advice should consult with a licensed physician. You need to always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider regarding any medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice (or delay in seeking it) because of something that you have read on this post or our website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call emergency services or go to the nearest emergency hospital immediately. No physician-patient relationship is created by use of this website or any of its post or from the information provided. Neither the owner, employees, nor any contributor to this website, makes any representations, express/implied, with respect to the information provided or opinions shared herein.

Posts on this website may contain affiliate links. If you use these links for buying something, we may earn a commission.

Post a Comment