Syphilis is a treatable bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body and affect the heart, brain and nervous system. The primary stage of syphilis is usually marked by the appearance of a single sore (called a chancre), but there may be multiple sores. The chancre is usually firm, round, small, and painless. It appears at the spot where syphilis entered the body. The chancre lasts 3 to 6 weeks, and it heals without treatment. However, if adequate treatment is not administered, the infection progresses to the secondary stage. For more information, go to the CDC website.
Syphilis is passed through skin to skin contact. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Condom use reduces the risk, but because Syphilis can be transmitted through skin to skin contact, transmission could still occur since all areas are not covered by the condom.
The Syphilis test is a blood test. The test is accurate 3 months from the last possible exposure to the bacteria. Syphilis is treated with antibiotics and is easy to cure in the early stages. More advanced cases may need additional treatment.
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