Sexual problems - Syphilus
What is syphilis
Syphilis is caused by a germ that is spread by having sexual contact, such as intercourse, with an infected person.
Who can get syphilis
Any sexually active person can get infected with syphilis, although it is more common among young people between the ages of 15 and 30 years.
How is syphilis spread
Syphilis is spread by having sex with an infected individual. Congenital syphilis occurs in babies when the mother is infected, and not treated, when pregnant.
What are the symptoms of syphilis
The first sign of syphilis is usually a painless sore which appears at the site of initial contact. It may be accompanied by swollen glands, which develop within a week after the appearance of the initial sore. The sore will last from one to five weeks, and will go away by itself even if not treated.
Approximately six weeks after the sore first appears, a person will enter the second stage of the disease. The most common symptom during this stage is a rash which may appear on any part of the body. Other symptoms may include being tired, fever, sore throat, headache, loss of appetite and swollen glands. These will last two to six weeks,. and also will go away even if not treated.
Late syphilis (untreated syphilis of over four years' duration) may involve illness in the skin, bones, central nervous system and heart, and may shorten life, impair health and limit one's ability to do his/her job.
How soon do symptoms appear
Symptoms can appear anywhere from 10 - 90 days after a person becomes affected, but usually within three or four weeks.
When and for how long is a person able to spread syphilis
A person with untreated syphilis can pass it to his/her partners) or up to one year.
Does past infection with syphilis make a person immune
No. A person can get syphilis more than one time.
What is the treatment for syphilis
Syphilis is easily treated with penicillin or tetracycline. The amount and type of treatment depends on the stage of syphilis.
What are the complications associated with syphilis
Untreated syphilis can lead to heart failure, insanity, blindness, destruction of bone and a variety of other conditions which may be mild to life-threatening. In addition, having syphilis makes it easier for someone to become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
What can be done to prevent the spread of STDs
- Abstinence is the only sure way to avoid STDs.
- The kinds of sex that do not include vaginal, anal or oral intercourse are also "safer sex" and less likely to spread STDs.
- Try to limit your exposure to STDs. Unprotected sexual activity increases your chance of exposure and infection. If you have more than one partner or your partner has other sexual partners this increases your chances of getting an STD.
- Use barrier protection, like a condom.
- Look at your partner before having sex. If you see any sign of an infection such as rashes, sores, discharge or swelling, stop and talk about the importance of checking for an STD before having sex.
- If you think you are infected, avoid any sexual contact and visit a local sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic, hospital or your own doctor. If possible, bring your sex partner(s) with you so that they can be treated if necessary