Syphilis is caused by a bacteria which is easily passed from one person to another through sexual contact.

What are the signs and symptoms?

These can be difficult to recognise and may be missed.

Syphilis has three stages:

First stage (3-4 weeks or more after you have contacted the syphilis bacteria)• a painless sore or sores where the bacteria has entered the body,

Second stage – (about 6 weeks later)

  • Sores or white patches in the mouth or tongue
  • a rash spreading all over the body
  • warty growths on the genitals
  • flu like symptoms

Third stage – (many years later)

  • damage to the heart, joints and nervous system

How do you get tested?

Syphilis is found by taking a blood test. Syphilis can cause miscarriage and still birth, so all pregnant women are tested for it.

What is the treatment?

Treatment of first and second stage syphilis is simple and involves having a single antibiotic

For information and testing visit your local GP, or your local sexual health clinic.

Is there anything I can do myself?

The best way to prevent all sexually transmitted infections, including Syphilis is to practise safer sex. This means using a condom for vaginal or anal sex or a condom or dental dam for oral sex. Reducing the number of partners you have sex with also reduces the risk of being infected.