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The usual test for syphilis is a blood test. It can take up to three months after exposure for the infection to show up in a blood test. Once someone has been infected with syphilis most future blood tests will show up as positive – even if they have been successfully treated. A particular test is used to identify a new infection – as well as to see if treatment has worked.
If left untreated, syphilis can cause damage to the nerves, bones, skin, eyes and brain.
Syphilis has infectious and non-infectious stages.
Syphilis can produce a painless sore on the penis, in the anus or in the mouth ten to ninety days after infection. The sore usually turns into a scab and heals after two to six weeks, but the infection remains. Only areas covered by condoms, gloves or dental dams are protected from infection.
Seven to ten weeks after infection, some people develop a rash on the torso (body), hands or feet. Symptoms may also include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, muscle aches and fatigue. The symptoms may last up to a few months and then disappear.
If left untreated, syphilis remains in the body. It stops being infectious to sexual partners after about two years. During the non-infectious stage syphilis may begin to damage the body’s internal organs, which may include the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, liver, heart, bones, joints and blood vessels. In some people this damage may not show up for many years. Damage to the internal organs can occur after ten to twenty-five years and may be serious enough to cause death. If a sore (called a chancre) is present, a swab can be used to test.
Syphilis is treated with injections of antibiotics. The duration of treatment depends on the stage of the infection and ranges from between one and thirty days. Treatment is often provided as prophylaxis if you have had contact with someone who has had syphilis to prevent it from developing in you.
Syphilis is harder to detect and treat in people living with HIV. It is a serious infection that can be mistaken for other infections found in people living with HIV. While the symptoms of syphilis are usually similar, some HIV positive men develop severe organ and nerve damage much more rapidly than HIV negative men. For some, syphilis can decrease the CD4 count. This can cause damage to the immune system as well as increase the viral load.
Having syphilis increases the risk of HIV transmission.
Thrush (or Candidiasis) is a yeast infection that irritates the mucous membranes around the genitals.Keep reading…
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can infect the mucous lining of the penis, anus, or vagina.
Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that lives in the mucous lining of the penis, throat, anus, vagina or eyes.Keep reading…
Gut Infections are caused by bacteria (such as amoebiasis, shigellosis, giardiasis and salmonellosis).Keep reading…
Hepatitis A, B & C
Hepatitis A, B & C are all viruses that cause inflammation of the liver. There are three different kinds of Hepatitis. Each has different symptoms and different treatments.Keep reading…
Herpes (Herpes Simplex Virus, HSV) presents in two different types: cold sores or genital herpes.Keep reading…
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the virus that can cause warts on the penis, anus or surrounding areas.Keep reading…
Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)
LGV is a particularly virulent form of the Chlamydia bacteria. It is still rare, but it may become more common over time.Keep reading…
Molloscum Contagiosum (MC) is a virus that causes pimple-like lumps on the body.Keep reading…
Pubic Lice (Crabs)
Pubic Lice (Crabs) are small parasites that grip onto the hair in the genital area.Keep reading…
Scabies are tiny mites (smaller than crabs) that burrow under the skin to lay eggs.Keep reading…
The NZAF network