What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is an STI caused by a bacteria. Those infected get painless but highly infectious sores on genitals or around the mouth.

The sores may be ignored or not even noticed because of their painless nature. The sore then resolves within 6 weeks and then some time later syphilis turns into the second stage where a rash appears on the body – especially on the hands and feet.

If syphilis still goes untreated, it progresses into the third and final stage where it moves into the brain and can cause paralysis and blindness.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of syphilis aren’t always obvious and may eventually disappear, but you will remain infected unless you get treated.

Some people with syphilis have no symptoms.

Symptoms can include:

  • small, painless sores or ulcers that typically appear on the penis, vagina, around the anus, but can occur in other places such as the mouth 
  • a blotchy red rash that often affects the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
  • small skin growths that may develop on the vulva in women or around the anus in both men and women
  • tiredness, headaches, joint pains, a fever, and swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpits

What's the treatment?

Syphilis is usually treated with:

  • an injection with antibiotics into your buttocks – most people will only need one dose, although three injections given at weekly intervals may be recommended if you’ve had syphilis for a long time
  • a course of antibiotics tablets if you can’t have the injection – this will usually last two or four weeks, depending on how long you’ve had syphilis 

What do we test?

At Test Easy syphilis is tested for with a simple and easy blood test.

Results can be available within 1 day of processing.

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