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Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacteria. Syphilis can cause long-term complications and/or death if not treated.

How is it transmitted?

Syphilis is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with syphilis sores. Sores occur on the outside of genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Syphilis can be transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sexual contact.

How soon do you realize you have syphilis?

On average the first symptoms appear on the 21st day of carrying the infection. Symptoms can show up in a range of 10 to 70 days.

What are the symptoms of syphilis?

Symptoms of syphilis are sores on the body. They are firm round and painless which makes them go unnoticed sometimes. The sores last 3 to 6 weeks whether the person is treated or not. If syphilis is left untreated for a long time you can have difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia. Syphilis can eventually lead to death.

Can syphilis affect pregnant women?

A pregnant woman with syphilis can pass the disease to her unborn baby. Babies born with syphilis can have many health problems. This may lead to low birth weight, premature delivery or even having a stillbirth. To protect their babies, pregnant women should be tested for syphilis regularly during the pregnancy and at delivery and receive treatment if they are positive.

An infected baby may be born without symptoms of disease. If they are not treated immediately the baby may develop serious problems within a few weeks. Untreated babies can have many health problems and they can die.

Other facts

  • Penicillin shots can treat congenital complications for a baby.
  • Syphilis is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 29.
  • Antibiotics can easily kill syphilis
  • Syphilis comes from a bacteria called treponema pallidum