Health Article Detail

SYPHILIS

Syphilis is a curable sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a kind of germ called Treponema pallidum and it can infect almost any part of the body.

HOW DO I GET INFECTED?

  • through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has syphilis
  • by touching sores or weeping rashes in someone who has syphilis
  • from an infected mother to her unborn baby because of this all pregnant women are offered syphilis testing as part of their antenatal care.

HOWEVER
Syphilis cannot be caught by hugging, sharing baths or towels, from swimming pools, toilet seats or sharing cups, plates or cutlery.

HOW DO I KNOW I MAY BE INFECTED?

  • The most common signs are sores on the genitals or in the mouth or near the anus.
  • Skin rashes.
  • Sometimes syphilis produces no symptoms and the infection is only discovered when a blood test is performed and If left untreated it can cause serious health problems.
  • Symptoms may occur as early as a week after infection, but sometimes it takes many months before the person notices a problem.

If syphilis is not treated over a long period of time, the infection may cause damage to the brain, spinal cord and nerves and even the heart.

HOPE

Antibiotic usually penicillin is usually effective for treating syphilis

CAUTION

There’s no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, hence to avoid getting the virus:

  • You must not have sex until you and your partner have taken your treatment (this includes oral sex and sex with condoms). And another blood test has shown that the infection is completely gone.
  • Avoid touching sores on infected persons with your bare hands.
  • Because syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection it is important that your current partner(s) are tested for syphilis and other STIs too.