Worried you may have an STD? Book an appointment for low-cost STD Testing at an Obria Medical Clinic near you.
It’s important to look out for your own well-being, and that includes getting tested for STDs. It’s better to know for sure so you can take care of yourself and your partner(s), and most STDs are treatable. It’s the responsible and caring thing to do. So, take control of your health and schedule that test – it’s a simple step towards a healthier you and safer relationship.
What is Syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is spread through skin-to-skin contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal or oral sex, or even by kissing an open syphilis sore. Syphilis develops in multiple stages and, left untreated can cause serious health problems, like blindness, paralysis, and dementia. To avoid the many damaging effects of the disease, it is important to know what syphilis is and its stages of infection.
How is Syphilis spread?
Syphilis is spread through skin to skin contact with a sore, sometimes even through childbirth.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is spread through skin-to-skin contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Syphilis may also be passed from pregnant mothers to their babies.
Stages and Symptoms of Syphilis
Syphilis develops across several unique stages with unique symptoms attributed to each stage.
During the primary stage painless sores, called a chancres, appear on the genital area, mouth or lip.
A chancre is small, round sore that forms at the spot where syphilis entered the body. The chancre lasts approximately 4 weeks and heals without treatment. However, if adequate treatment is not administered, the infection progresses to the secondary stage.
The primary stage of syphilis poses the lowest risk to your health given the way it manifests, but it is for this reason that you should seek STD testing if you believe you have contracted any kind of disease, as all STDs, syphilis included, are best treated in their earliest stages.
A rash appears on the hands, feet, and other areas. Fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, headaches, and fatigue may also follow.
The signs and symptoms of secondary-stage syphilis will resolve without treatment, but without treatment, syphilis will progress to the latent and late stages of the disease. Much like the first stage of syphilis, the second stage seems to pose a relatively low risk to your overall health, but this is only because it will resolve itself regardless of whether you seek treatment or not. Do not assume that because the unusual symptoms resolve this means you have “gotten over” an illness, as STDs do not “disappear” without proper treatment.
A latent stage may follow in which you experience no signs or symptoms of syphilis.1
However, if left untreated Syphilis can exist within the body for years, giving rise to dangerous and permanent consequences. It is imperative that you recieve treatment as soon as possible.
Tertiary & Late-Stage Syphilis
Syphilis spreads throughout the body and even the brain. This can cause several serious health consequences including organ failure, paralysis, blindness, hearing loss, or even dementia.1 For this reason, It is critical to make sure syphilis doesn’t go untreated.
The third stage of syphilis poses significant hazards to your health but fortunately takes three to fifteen years to properly set in. However, does not give you license to ignore any warning signs of syphilis (or any STD). Ignoring the symptoms for syphilis symptoms (or any other STD) may lead to far worse consequences. It is critical to be tested at the initial manifestation of symptoms so that you can obtain the syphilis cure as soon as possible.
Pregnant women with Syphilis have an elevated risk of giving birth to a stillborn child or infant infected with syphilis.
It is imperative for Pregnant women to be tested for STDs upon finding out they are pregnant, as pregnant mothers with long–standing syphilis are at an elevated risk of having a stillborn child (a baby born dead) or of giving birth to a baby who dies shortly after birth. An infected baby may be born without signs or symptoms of syphilis. If not treated immediately, the baby may develop serious problems within a few weeks.
Is Syphilis treatable?
Yes, if detected early (within a year), syphilis can be treated with a single injection of antibiotics. If you test positive, we will refer you to a low-cost clinic for treatment. To treat longer-standing cases of the disease, multiple doses of antibiotics are required.
However, treatment in late-stage syphilis (when the damage has already been done to your body) may not be curable, and is focused on the prevention of further damage but will not undo the detrimental effects syphilis has already had.
How do you test for Syphilis?
Syphilis testing is primarily done via a blood test or a microscope test, which examines the infected area for the bacteria that cause syphilis. Other clinics may also offer Cerebrospinal fluid testing for individuals suspected of having neurosyphilis.2
At Obria, a syphilis blood test is undertaken by health professionals to assure the highest level of accuracy possible.
Take control of your health and protect yourself from Syphilis.
It is important to take control of your health and prevent the spread of diseases. The best way to avoid contracting syphilis is to exercise abstinence or engage in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship using protection with a partner that has tested negative for STDs. Syphilis can be extremely dangerous, but fortunately, there is a cure if caught in time.
Worried you may have an STD? Book an STD testing appointment today.
If you believe you might have an STD or would like peace of mind, please schedule an appointment at an Obria Medical Clinic for a low-cost test and get treatment as soon as possible.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022b, April 12). Chlamydia – CDC Basic Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm#:~:text=Men%20rarely%20have%20health%20problems,of%20getting%20or%20giving%20HIV.
2.Editorial Contributors, WebMD., & Nazario, B. (2023, April 27). Syphilis: Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/syphilis