Syphilis

Michael Munzer TB 2

Definition

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a type of bacteria called a spirochete.

Transmission

Syphilis can be transmitted by touching a syphilis sore through sexual intercourse of any kind. It can also be passed from a pregnant mother to her baby.

Symptoms

There are four stages of syphilis, with different symptoms for each.



  1. Primary Syphilis

With primary syphilis, sores (called chancres) will appear on or around the genitals, rectum, or mouth. The chancres are painless, and it is contagious in the first stage.


2. Secondary Syphilis


In this stage, the person will usually break out in a rash (especially on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands) and will often experience flu-like symptoms.


3. Latent Syphilis


By the third stage of syphilis, the signs and symptoms will go away. It can remain hidden for many years. It's still there, however, and will progress to...


4. Tertiary Syphilis


At this point, the syphilis disease will have damaged major organs such as the brain, heart, and the spinal cord. Tertiary syphilis can result in difficulty walking, numbness, gradual blindness, and eventually death.

Treatment

Early stages of syphilis can be easily cured using antibiotics. In late stages, damage to the body cannot be treated, but seeing a doctor is still important regardless.

Problems

Some of the problems syphilis can cause include infection of major organs, brain damage, and a greater risk of HIV/AIDS.

Prevention

The best treatment for syphilis is abstinence, but if you choose to have sex then you should use protection and have as few partners as possible.