What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a bacteria transmitted through sexual activity which can cause potentially life-threatening conditions. In the early stages of infection, sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores can also be found in the mouth and on the lips.

The bacteria can cause many harmful effects to both men and women if it is left undetected. Serious damage to internal organs and to the central nervous system will occur if a Syphilis infection is left untreated. In addition, pregnant women can suffer miscarriage or stillbirth.

A Syphilis infection will not go away on its own, but when detected early can be easily cured with appropriate antibiotics. It is important to get tested regularly so that you can protect your health and the health of your partners.

Did you know? …

Syphilis is easily curable, but if left untreated can cause life-threatening conditions including brain, heart, sight problems often leading to death.

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How can I get Syphilis?

It is transmitted through sexual activity, usually by direct contact with an infected Syphilis sore. You can also catch Syphilis through drug use when sharing needles, and pregnant women can pass it to their unborn baby.

How do I know if I have Syphilis?

Syphilis symptoms can be difficult to recognise, and can take years to develop meaning that it can be transmitted unknowingly. The symptoms develop in three stages. The most common symptom in the primary stage is the appearance of a sore or a "chancre" mainly in the genital area but also occurring in and around the mouth and lips. Secondary stage symptoms include rashes, flu-like symptoms, weight loss and hair loss. In the Latent stage, also known as the hidden phase, you may not experience symptoms even though you are infected. Effects of a latent stage infection may include damage to your internal organs including the brain, heart, liver, nerves, eyes and blood vessels.

How can I test for Syphilis?

You can have a Syphilis test at Better2Know on its own, or as part of a comprehensive screen. If you are worried about other STDs or STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) you can choose from our Platinum Screen, our Full Screen or our Peace of Mind Screen. A blood sample and urine sample are needed for these tests.

Our Blemish Screen is available for patients who have visible symptoms and a swab sample can be taken instead of a blood sample. Results for your Syphilis test are available the day after that your sample is received in our laboratory.

How is Syphilis treated?

Syphilis can be cured with antibiotics. Better2Know can help with your treatment. Remember that identifying a Syphilis infection early will make treatment much easier and more successful. Testing is the only way to know your status so book your test now.

What are the risks if Syphilis is left untreated?

People with Syphilis are more likely to contract HIV because the genital sores caused by Syphilis can bleed, increasing the chance for HIV to enter the bloodstream during sexual activity. Because the immune system is weaker with HIV, an untreated case of Syphilis can be fatal. It is important to get tested regularly and to get any infection treated.

There are many risks for pregnant women who have Syphilis. These risks include, miscarriages, premature births, stillbirths, or the death of newborn babies. There is also risk of deformities, delays in development, or seizures along with many other problems such as rash, fever, swollen liver and spleen, anaemia and jaundice. If Syphilis remains undiagnosed in infants, it can cause severe damage to their bones, teeth, eyes, ears, and brain.