Richmond Practice - Syphilis

Syphilis is widespread in Africa and Asia, and less prevalent in developed nations. It is easily treatable and early treatment can decrease the risk of contracting other STDs including HIV. First signs of the disease can be seen up to 6 weeks after contact, and because the symptoms of Syphilis are very similar to those of many other ailments, it is important to visit your doctor or STD clinic if you suspect you may have contracted the disease.

Symptoms (Men and women)

Primary stage
During this first stage of the disease, a painless sore or 'Chancre', usually on one's genitals or site of contact with an infected person may appear. Swollen lymph nodes may also be present near the site of infection.

Secondary stage
This stage usually begins between 2 and 8 weeks after the appearance of the chancre. Sometimes the secondary stage begins when the chancre is still visible. Skin rash usually affecting the palms of hands and bottoms of feet, fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, hair loss, weight loss, and fatigue are all possible symptoms of Syphilis in its secondary stage.

Tertiary stage
Paralysis, mental deterioration, gradual blindness, and damage to major organs characterise the tertiary stage of Syphilis. It's important to note that regular STD check-ups and if necessary, early treatment of this STD will prevent Syphilis from progressing to this stage.

Syphilis is an STD (sexually transmitted disease) and therefore vaginal, anal, and oral sex, or direct contact with a sore which may be in the genital area, anus or mouth can fuel its transmission. The disease can also be passed from mother to fetus, increasing the risk of stillbirth or death of the baby shortly after birth.

A simple blood test will detect this STD.

An antibiotic injection is effective treatment of Syphilis.


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