How is it transmitted?
Syphilis is transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex.
The symptoms of syphilis appear in two phases:
First phase of syphilis:
The symptoms of syphilis appear within 3 to 6 weeks from getting infected. One symptom is a sore with hard edges in the genitalia, mouth or anus. Not everyone gets symptoms.
All symptoms disappear on their own even if syphilis is not treated. However, the infection does not disappear from your body.
Second phase of syphilis:
The symptoms of the second phase appear 2 to 4 months from the end of the first phase. Symptoms in the second phase include fever, enlarged lymph nodes, headache, nausea and various skin symptoms.
Even if syphilis is not treated, all symptoms disappear within six months. After that, the syphilis becomes latent.
Late symptoms of syphilis
A person who has syphilis and does not get treated may develop tertiary syphilis. It may appear several years after the original infection. It may damage the central nervous system.
Untreated syphilis will lead to tertiary syphilis in 20–30 per cent of sufferers, damaging the central nervous and circulatory systems.
When should you get tested?
Roughly 3-6 weeks from exposure.
How it is tested
• with blood tests
Syphilis is treated with antibiotic injections. The success of the treatment is confirmed with a new blood test after the treatment has ended.