What is syphilis?
is a sexually transmitted disease that’s caused by the bacterium treponema pallidum. It is passed through
direct contact with a syphilis sore, called a chancre. These sores can appear
anywhere on the body at the point of contact but mostly show up on external
genitals, the vagina, the penis, or the anus. They can be found also on the
lips or in the mouth. The signs and symptoms of syphilis differ according to
which of the four stages of the disease is present — primary, secondary,
latent, and tertiary (late stage).
How does one get syphilis?
can be transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
What can be the consequences of syphilis?
- Primary stage symptoms include
the presence of a small, painless sore (chancre) and enlarged groin lymph
nodes. These symptoms disappear within 6 weeks without treatment, but the
disease remains and progresses to the next stage.
- Secondary stage symptoms include
a rash, fever, fatigue, aching bones and joints. These symptoms will also
disappear in time.
- The next stage of syphilis, the
latent stage, begins when all of your previous symptoms have disappeared.
Obviously, this is a very deceptive stage, because, while you show no symptoms,
you still have syphilis. If left untreated, you may not develop tertiary, or
late stage, syphilis – most of those afflicted don’t. But far worse symptoms
can show up, even as late as 10, 20, or 30 years after initial infection, and those
symptoms are devastating indeed.
- Tertiary, or late, stage symptoms
typically include stroke, meningitis, poor coordination, paralysis, deafness,
blindness, dementia, and aneurysm. Damage to internal organs can be serious
enough to cause death.
Can syphilis be treated and, if so, how?
diagnosis and treatment with penicillin can kill the organism that causes
syphilis and stop the progression of the disease. The treatment, however, can
not repair any damage already done by the infection. If you suspect you may
have had a chancre sore, GET TESTED for syphilis before serious damage occurs.
information about syphilis visit: CDC Mayo Clinic
For confidential risk counseling, please call 260-422-3544 or
text 224-585-3544 to make an appointment.
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