Syphilis is caused by bacteria and is not as common as some of the other STIs – however, it has recently made it back on the radar.
The symptoms are usually mild which means some people ignore them.
Syphilis comes in 3 stages:
Stage 1: Primary Syphilis
This can appear 2 to 4 weeks after exposure but it can be sooner or later. The first stage is usually a small painless sore called ‘chancre’. This will usually appear where the infection entered the body (genitals), and sometimes it can appear on the lips, tonsils, hands or bum.
This chancre is painless but extremely infectious, it usually heals and disappears after 2-6 weeks.
Stage 2: Secondary Syphilis
If the chancre is left untreated the bacteria can spread and become secondary syphilis. Symptoms may include:
- A non-itchy rash, often on the feet.
- Small flat growths (look like warts) around the vagina or anus.
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Weight & hair loss.
- White patches on the tongue or roof of the mouth.
These can come and go over weeks and month. Once these have disappeared you move into the hidden stage, which can last for years.
Stage 3: Tertiary Stage
If the syphilis is left untreated it will move onto the most danger stage. This stage can begin even decades after the first infection, symptoms can include:
- Loss of coordination
- Heart Disease
By this point syphilis is dangerous enough to cause death.
Causes Of Syphilis
Did you know? Untreated syphilis can be passed on for up to two years after the infection.
You CANNOT catch Chlamydia from kissing, hugging, sharing towels, swimming pools, toilet seats etc.
It CAN however, be spread through:
- From mother to baby. (can be treated during pregnancy).
- Unprotected sex (vaginal, oral & anal).
- Genitals touching.
- Sharing your toys without washing between uses.
- Sharing Needles