Syphilis is a bacterial infection which can be easily passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
How can syphilis be passed on?
Syphilis can be passed on without knowing you have the infection because symptoms can be mild and you may not notice or recognise them.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Syphilis can develop in three stages:
The 1st stage – Primary syphilis: Symptoms begin with one or more painless but highly infectious sores on the skin known as chancres (pronounced Shanker). On average this will be 2-3 weeks after coming into contact with syphilis. If someone else comes into contact with these chancres, which typically happens during sexual contact, then they can also catch the condition. The sores of the 1st stage are very infectious and may take 2-6 weeks to heal.
The 2nd stage- Secondary syphilis: If the infection remains untreated the second stage will usually occur some weeks after any sores have appeared and healed. Syphillis remains infectious at this stage and can still be passed on.
The 3rd stage – Tertiary syphilis: When syphilis remains untreated it goes into another phase known as the 3rd stage or latent syphilis . If the infection is left untreated for many years may cause very serious damage to the heart, brain eyes, other internal organs, bones and nervous system. At this stage syphilis can lead to death, it is however rare in the UK.
How will I know if I have the infection?
You can only be certain if you have a test. Testing is easy just a simple blood test.
What is the treatment for syphilis?