Syphilis Testing and Treatment
If left untreated, syphilis can have serious complications; however, with proper treatment, this bacterial infection can be easily cured. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that advances in stages. It can be spread through direct contact with an infected area during sex. Syphilis sores appear on the vagina, penis, rectum, lips or in the mouth of the infected individuals. This disease can also spread from an infected mother to her unborn child.
Testing for syphilis involves a blood test. It can also be diagnosed by testing fluid from a syphilis sore. When the right antibiotics are used, the disease can be cured. Unfortunately, if not caught in time, any damage that the virus has caused will most likely be permanent.
Your body does not build up an immunity to syphilis, so even though you may have been successfully treated for the disease, you will be able to contract it again if you have unprotected sex with an infected person. It is important to tell your sex partner that you have syphilis so he or she can be treated as well. To ensure that treatment for syphilis is successful, you are advised to have follow-up testing.
The symptoms of syphilis depend on the stage of the disease. The primary stage may present with one or more sores. These sores can go unnoticed because they are painless. The sores may last up to six weeks and will heal on their own regardless of treatment. Without treatment, the disease moves to the second stage.
The secondary stage may present with skin rashes. Mucous membrane lesions may also be visible. They may occur in your mouth, vagina or anus. The secondary stage can appear before the sores are healed or weeks after healing. As in the first stage, symptoms will go away on their own, but if not treated, the disease will progress to either the latent stage where there are no visible symptoms, or to the tertiary stage.
Syphilis can be latent for years or decades. If treatment does not happen, and the third stage appears, serious complications can develop. The tertiary stage of syphilis can include damage to internal organs. Damage to the brain, heart and nervous system can develop. This stage usually develops after the infection has been in the body for ten or more years.
Anyone who has had unprotected sex should get tested for STDs, including syphilis. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael for a screening. Early treatment can stop the effects of syphilis and cure the infection.