How is it spread?
By unprotected sex or sharing sex toys with a person who has the infection, by direct skin contact with someone who has syphilis sores or a syphilis rash
What are the symptoms?
There can be three stages of infection:
· First stage – one or more sores usually found near or on the vagina or penis or sometimes the mouth and anus. These sores will appear two or three weeks after coming into contact with syphilis. These last for two to six weeks and are very infectious.
· Second stage - a rash on the body may appear within two to six months of original infection.
Flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and sore throat may be experienced
Flat, warty looking growths on the vulva in women and around the anus in men and women. Both these stages may not be noticeable.
If not treated:
· Third stage - permanent damage to the heart, brain and other organs - which could be fatal.
This final stage is quite rare and can arise many years after the first infection, when treatment has not been given.
How can I get rid of it?
Antibiotics will be given to clear the infection. It is important that both partners are treated to avoid re-infection. Follow up appointments may be necessary
To reduce your chances of getting it – use a condom!