Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection which doesn't pose serious harm to the health if detected and treated early. If syphilis is left untreated for a long time, it could lead to health problems such as paralysis, blindness, and stroke.
In the UK, syphilis is one of the less transmitted STIs. However, there has been a recent increase in the number of new syphilis infections in young adults.
Syphilis is caused by a bacteria known as Treponema pallidum. It can be transmitted by contact with the sore of an infected person, especially during oral, anal or vaginal sex. Sharing sex toys, needles and other injecting equipment with an infected can cause you to get infected. A pregnant woman who is infected with syphilis can pass the infection to her baby during childbirth.
Men who have sex with men are said to be at more risk of contracting syphilis.
There are 4 stages of syphilis. In the latent stage of syphilis, there are little or no symptoms, but the infection can still be transmitted while the first three stages have different kinds of symptoms
This is the first stage of a syphilis infection. Symptoms develop 2 - 3 weeks after contracting the infection. You may have a small, painless sore or ulcer on your genitals, mouth, fingers or buttocks. There may be just one or several sores. This symptom may not be noticeable.
In the primary stage, you may also have swollen lymph glands in your neck, underarms or groin. This stage may last for weeks. With the right treatment, the infection will not progress to the next stage.
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The symptoms of the secondary stage of syphilis include rashes on any part of the body but particularly on the palms or soles. Small growths on the skin (vulva or around the anus) that are similar to that of genital warts. There may also be flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, fever, joint pain, and headache. You may also experience swollen glands and patchy hair loss.
The tertiary stage of syphilis presents symptoms such as stroke, meningitis, loss of coordination, dementia, heart problems, numbness, and vision problems.
The treatment for syphilis is quite simple. With a short course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor, you would be healthy within a short while. You have to get tested first before you can get a prescription for treatment.
You can get tested of syphilis at the Sexual Health Clinic before you start treatment. Our syphilis test costs about £52, excluding phlebotomy and results are available in 24 hours.
The kind of antibiotics that will be prescribed for you will depend on how long you have been infected.
For a syphilis infection of fewer than two years, a penicillin injection administered via the buttocks or 10 - 14day course of tablets will be sufficient. If the infection is severe, the dosage of the penicillin injection will be administered daily for 2 weeks or tablets will be taken for a month.
About 2 in 5 persons experience side effects while receiving treatment for syphilis but these side effects usually clear off in 24 hours. These side effects include
At the Sexual health clinic, we offer syphilis testing, treatment, and tests for other STIs. Call us today on 020 34751653 to book an appointment for your syphilis testing. You can also contact us if you have any concerns about your sexual health.
Recent data has shown that there has been about 61% case of new syphilis infection. High risk practises that increases your chances of contracting syphilis include having unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex, sharing sex toys, and needles. Men who have sex with men are at higher risk of getting infected.