by Dominique

What Is Syphilis

Syphilis is a Sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is caused by a type of bacteria known as a spirochete (through a microscope, it looks like a corkscrew or spiral). The spirochetes that cause syphilis can be passed from one person to another through direct contact with a syphilis sore during sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral sex).

What Are the Symptoms?

They are several different stages of Syphilis.

  • The first stage of Syphilis has redness and sometimes wet sores appear on the vagina, rectum, penis, or mouth. There is often just one sore, but there may be several. This type of sore is called a chancre

  • In the second stage it shows up as a rash (including the soles of the feet and palms of the hands). You may also get flu-like symptoms.

  • In the third stage, which is called the later stage, if syphilis still has not been treated the person may have a period of the illness called latent (hidden) syphilis. which means the illness has gone away but it's still there .

  • If Syphilis still hasn't been treated it can sometimes develop tertiary, this means the spirochetes have spread all over the body and can affect the brain, the eyes, the heart, the spinal cord, and bones. Symptoms can include difficulty walking, numbness, gradual blindness, and possibly even death.

How Is It Treated?

Depending on the stage, the doctor can make a diagnosis by examining the discharge from chancres under a special microscope or by doing a blood test to look for signs of infection. in Early stages of syphilis are easily cured with antibiotics.

How Is Syphilis Prevented?

The best way to prevent any STD is to not have sex. However, for people who decide to have sex, it's important to use protection and to have as few sexual partners as possible. Latex condoms are effective against most STD.