What is it?

Syphilis is an infection that is caused by bacteria called Treponema Pallidum.

What are the symptoms?

There are three stages to Syphilis (if left untreated):

  • Stage 1 - sores can develop where bacteria entered the body. At stage one, Syphilis can go undetected
  • Stage 2 - sores in the mouth, warty growths on genitals, a copper coloured rash and a flu-like illness may develop
  • Stage 3 - if left untreated for a long time Syphilis can lead to heart, joint and nervous system damage. It can also cause miscarriages, premature births and stillbirths (when the baby dies)

The bacteria causing Syphilis is present in blood and body fluids (like semen). It can be passed on during unprotected sexual contact (sex without condoms) or activities which allow blood to pass from person to person such as through needle sharing. It may also be passed during pregnancy from an infected woman to her unborn child.

How do I get tested?

Visit your GP or find your nearest sexual health clinic using our services page.

Can it be treated?

Yes, if detected early, Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics.

Can I prevent it?

Sexual penetration or ejaculation does not need to take place for Syphilis to spread. Condoms are the best protection from STIs such as Syphilis. Learn how to use them correctly and consistently, and how to remove them after sex without spilling the contents. Remember that sex without a condom can put you or your partner at risk of other infections or pregnancy. If you inject drugs do not share needles - you can get clean needles through the needle exchange.

Condoms are the only form of contraception to protect you against STIs. You can get FREE condoms from any easy access point for condoms


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