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Syphilis

 
 

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What is it?
Syphilis is a bacterial infection easily passed on from one person to another through unprotected sexual contact

Transmission route:
Syphilis can be passed from one person to another through unprotected vaginal, oral, anal sex and by direct skin contact with someone who has syphilitic sores.

Signs and Symptoms:
As the symptoms for syphilis are sometimes mild you may not realise you had the infection or recognise the symptoms. However syphilis can develop in 3 stages;

  1. A painless sore or chancre may appear 2 weeks after coming into contact with the infection usually appearing in women around the vaginal area and the anus and with men on the penis, foreskin and anus.
  2. If left untreated and after the sores have healed, a painless rash may appear on the body, but often seen on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.
  3. If still untreated syphilis may after many years cause serious damage to the internal organs, nervous system and brain potentially leading to death.
 

Treatments and Testing:
Treatment for syphilis is by single injection or course of antibiotics. There may be a possibility of some of the antibiotics used to treat syphilis interacting with certain contraceptive methods.

As long as the treatment is taken correctly syphilis can be cured however if the infection has reached stage 3 it still can be cured but serious damage may have already been done to the body.

Where to go:
Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) Services offer you free and confidential service for testing and treating of genital infections including syphilis. You can find your local GUM or Contraception Clinic by typing in your postcode into the Service Finder.

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