Syphilis is a highly contagious sexually transmitted infection that can cause
serious health issues if it is not treated during the early stages of the disease.
Syphilis can start on a localized area of the skin (stage 1) and progress to wide
involvement of the skin and internal organs(stage 2) and years later invade the
skin, heart,brain and liver (stage 3). if left diagnosed and untreated.
What is the cause of syphilis?
Syphilis is caused by a spiral shaped bacteria called Treponema pallidum
What are the signs and symptoms of syphilis?
Signs and symptoms of syphilis depend on the stage of the disease. The disease is
classified into 3 stages.
Stage 1: Syphilis can initially present as a single or
multiple small painless sores on the genital area. At this stage of the disease an
infected individual may not notice or take the sores seriously since they will heal
over a few weeks even if they are not diagnosed and treated.
Stage 2: Unfortunately, the sores may recur as a widespread rash 2 to 8 weeks
later after the initial genital sore outbreak.
Syphilis at stage 1 or 2 is still treatable and easy to diagnose by an experienced
Scary stages of syphilis with permanent heart and brain disease
Stage 3 of syphilis occur years after undiagnosed and untreated stage 1-2 syphilis.
If syphilis is not treated in stage 1 or 2, the disease can progress to involvement
of heart, skin or brain stage 3 with poor response to the current treatments
available. Unfortunately there is little that we can do if the disease attacks the
inner organs and the brain. Early diagnosis and treatment of syphilis is essential.
How is syphilis diagnosed?
The first step in making a correct diagnosis is to find a doctor that has experience with STDs. Obtaining a comprehensive medical and social history and examining the patient can raise suspicion of this disease. If you have any genital sore (stage 1) or scattered skin lesions (stage 2), then diagnosis of syphilis may be confirmed by testing fluid from obtained from these skin lesions. Based on the stage of syphilis, multiple different types of blood tests can also confirm the diagnosis with anywhere between 80% to 100% accuracy.
Can an infected person be cured permanently with treatment?
Only if the disease is diagnosed at stage 1 or 2.
What is the treatment for syphilis?
Very simple antibiotics with high success rate can treat the disease if it is diagnosed at an early stage.
How can I reduce my risk of becoming infected with syphilis?
Abstaining from vaginal, anal, or oral sex completely eliminates the risk of syphilis infection.
If you are sexually active you can do the following to diminish your risk:
Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a sex partner that has been tested negative for syphilis.
Correctly use latex condoms every time you have any type of intercourse
Be smart and educated about STDs. If you have any doubts,be seen and tested for STDs regularly.
How can we be sure that infection is completely treated?
Dr. Rehman recommends that both sex partners be tested and treated at the same time. Both sex partners should also be retested 3 months after treatment of syphilis infection to ensure it has completely resolved.
What is my risk for other STDs if I am positive for syphilis?
There is a high chance that you can be infected with more than one STD at the same time. This is because open sores allow other bacteria or viruses to invade the body. Therefore, it is wise that you and your sex partner be tested for all other silent STDs if you are positive for one.
We offer STD panel testing!!
If you have any concerns or symptoms regarding possible STDs call us to make an appointment to be evaluated, educated, diagnosed and treated if needed.