Woman's Health Centers

When Someone You Love Needs a Choice



What Is It?

An infection caused by bacteria.

How Can I Get It?

Sexual contact (vaginal, oral or anal) with someone who has syphilis.

What Are the Symptoms?

Early Stage: Painless sore on the mouth, vagina, anus or elsewhere on the body. Without treatment the sore will go away in a couple of weeks but syphilis is still present in the body (many people with syphilis do not notice the sores).

How Can I Know For Sure?

Sores are examined by your doctor, or a blood test can be ordered for syphilis.

How Is It Treated?

Antibiotics or hospitalization may be necessary.

What Can Happen If I Don’t Take Care Of It?

Second Stage: (6 weeks - 4 months after contact) new sores, rash, fever, hair loss, body aches, sore throat or swollen glands.

Third Stage: (years later) damage to heart and/or brain, a pregnant woman with syphilis can pass it onto the fetus, causing severe damage or death and can cause severe infection of the reproductive orgams (PID).