What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted infection caused by a type of bacteria called Treponema pallidum.
Author: Jonathan Meddings
First answered: 06 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.7/5 Votes: 529
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The symptoms of syphilis depend on the stage of infection. In primary syphilis, the only symptom can be a painless ulcer, most often found on the genitals. In secondary syphilis, the main symptom is a widespread rash that can appear anywhere on the body. …
Syphilis is caused by a type of sexually-transmitted bacteria called Treponema pallidum.
Anyone who is sexually active can get syphilis, although it is more common in people who have unprotected sex, have multiple sexual partners and men who have sex with men.
Syphilis is treated with antibiotics injected into the muscle. Penicillin is used unless you have an allergy, in which case other treatment options include doxycycline and tetracycline.
Syphilis will not clear up on its own. You need to use antibiotics to clear the infection, otherwise it can progress over time.
Practicing safe sex can reduce your risk of catching syphilis. This can mean using a condom and being selective about your sexual partner(s) to those who don't have syphilis and other sexually-transmitted infections.
You can catch syphilis even if you have had it before, so regular sexual health check-ups are important if you are sexually active.