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Symptoms of Syphyilis

By on August 17, 2015

Sex is a lot more fun when you don’t have to worry about a sexually transmitted infection, especially HIV or syphilis. Syphilis is on the rise among Black men.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and called “the great imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms mimic those of other diseases. So be careful.

Syphilis develops in four stages, each with a different set of symptoms. Primary stage. During the primary stage of syphilis, a sore (chancre) that is usually painless develops at the site where the bacteria entered the body. This commonly occurs within 3 weeks of exposure but can range from 10 to 90 days.

Syphilis is still a problem in the United States, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting over 36,000 cases of syphilis in 2006 via its website. Most disturbing is that in 2006, half of all primary and secondary syphilis cases were reported from 20 counties and 2 cities. One of those cities, Washington, DC is the current syphilis epicenter.

Syphilis is passed from person to person with contact with a syphilis sore. The sores can be found primarily on the genitals or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the unborn babies.

Many people infected with syphilis do not have any symptoms for years, yet remain at risk for late complications if they are not treated. This is why it’s extremely important to talk to your sexual partners and get tested on a regular basis if you are sexually active.



Syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages. A single intramuscular injection of penicillin, an antibiotic, will cure a person who has had syphilis for less than a year. For those who are allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics are available.

There are no home remedies or over-the-counter drugs that will cure syphilis. And just because a person has been infected doesn’t make them immune to getting infected again.

If you would like additional information on sexually transmitted infections or referrals to STD Clinics, call 1-800-CDC-INFO. 


Content provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.

One Comment

  1. Staff Contributor

    October 24, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Get to know the facts so you can protect yourself and your sexual partners, maybe even your unborn child.

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