What is syphilis?

Syphilis is an STD that can cause long-term complications if not treated.

How is syphilis spread?

Syphilis can be spread via direct contact during oral, anal, and vaginal sexual intercourse. Syphilis can also be passed from a mother to her newborn baby.

Am I at risk for syphilis?

Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for syphilis. Sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men are at a higher risk of getting syphilis. Pregnant women should also be tested for syphilis during their prenatal screening.

What are symptoms of syphilis?

Symptoms of syphilis are divided into four main stages: the primary stage, the secondary stage, the latent stage, and the late stage. Each of these four stages have different symptoms.

The primary stage of syphilis

The symptoms of the primary stage of syphilis can be identified as sores that are usually firm, round, and painless. There can be one sore or multiple sores that appear around the mouth, vagina, or anus. These sores will go away between 3 to 6 weeks regardless of whether or not you receive proper treatment.

The second stage of syphilis

Syphilis sores are followed by a rash that appears as the sores are healing or after the sores have healed. Other symptoms can include fever, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue. These symptoms will go away regardless of whether or not you receive proper treatment.

The latent and late stages of syphilis

The latent stage of syphilis is defined as when all of the previous symptoms of the disease disappear. Syphilis will continue to be in your body regardless of if you are showing signs or symptoms. Most people with untreated syphilis do not develop late stage syphilis, although those who do develop it 10-30 years after the initial infection. Symptoms of late stage syphilis include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, blindness, and dementia.

What is the testing window for syphilis?

The testing window for syphilis is 1-12 weeks.