Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is typically passed on through sexual contact.
There are three stages of symptoms which are the same for men and women
1.Occurs 10 days to 3 months after initial contact. The most common symptoms begin with painless but infectious sores on the genitals, anus and around the mouth, tongue and lips. The sores will last up to six weeks before disappearing. If syphilis is not treated it will be move on to the second stage of the symptoms.
2. A sore throat and skin rash will then develop. This may also include tiredness, headaches and swollen glands.  These symptoms may disappear after a few weeks and stay latent.
3.During this latent period syphilis will show no symptoms although you are still infected. Without treatment there is risk or serious complications. These may include stroke, dementia, deafness, skin rashes and heart disease for instance.
The first two stages of the infection can be treated through a dose of penicillin or antibiotics. The later stages need to be treated with three doses of penicillin, which are given at weekly intervals. You will need to tell your doctor if you are contraceptive methods like the pill due to the adverse affects the treatment may have on these.
To find out more go to the FPA website –

Getting tested

If you suspect that you have syphilis visit your local GUM Clinic or local GP. Where you can receive a clinical examination, after this it may include a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. For more information about where to get tested follow this link.