Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by syphilis bacteria as they usually enter the body through the tissues that line the rectum, vagina or nose. If not treated quickly, it could get worse over time and causes other medical issues. Symptoms are sometimes visible and then disappear. There are four stages in syphilis Primary, Secondary, Latent and Tertiary. Syphilis could be caused by
- Having a sex partner who has syphilis
- Having sex with partners who have many sex partners
- Having unsafe sex or unprotected sex (Not using condoms)
- Having HIV
Stages of Syphilis
Primary syphilis: One of the first signs occur about three to four weeks after infection it begins as painless open sores called “Chancre” it is often found in the mouth, anus or the genitals. Normally caused by direct contact with an infected person (Sexual activity)
Secondary syphilis: At this stage, sore throat skin rashes start appearing and the rashes are normally found on the palms or soles or any part of the body. Symptoms include headaches, swollen lymph glands, fatigue, fever, hair loss, aching joints.
Latent syphilis: After the rashes disappear there will be a period where there are no symptoms this is called “hidden stage”. Even if the symptoms go away, the syphilis infection is still present and start damaging the inner organs. This stage may last up to 5-20 years.
Tertiary syphilis: Tertiary syphilis could occur years after you are initially infected as this could be life threatening and could cause serious health problems like Blindness, deafness, mental illness, memory loss, destruction of soft tissue, heart disease.
Treatment: Primary and secondary syphilis could be easily treated with penicillin injection. Penicillin is one of the widely used antibiotics and is very effective in treating syphilis. Antibiotic treatment cannot reverse the damage caused by syphilis but can further prevent any complications.
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