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Last Updated: Mar 09, 2023

Syphilis - How To Avert It?

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Dr. Rishabh Kumar RanaSexologist • 19 Years Exp.MBBS, MD - Community Medicine, CCIP
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Syphilis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that spreads mainly through sexual activities. It starts as a painless sore or rash on the skin, typically on the mouth, rectum, or the genitals, and results in long-term health complications, if left untreated. Keep reading to know more about the disease.

What are the symptoms and stages of syphilis?
The symptoms of the infection vary from person to person, depending on the stages of syphilis. Some people may also experience no symptoms at all. As the symptoms, if any, change depending on the stages of the disease, here’s a quick look at the stages and the symptoms they are characterized with.

  1. Primary stage: This is the first stage of syphilis where small, painless, round sores in the genitals and the mouth appear.
  2. Secondary stage: In the second stage, the patient starts developing rashes, if he/she has not visited any medical expert and thus is not undergoing any treatment.
  3. Latent stage: In the third stage, the infection may stay within the infected person; however, there will be no symptoms experienced for around 30 years.
  4. Late stage: In this last stage, if left untreated, the bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum starts affecting other body parts, resulting in damage to the nerves, brains, heart, or eyes.

How does one get infected?
The primary way of being infected with syphilis is through sexual activities. When one comes in contact with syphilis rash or sore during oral, vaginal, or anal sex, he or she can get syphilis. Women are not immune from syphilis, though it is the men, mainly those who are bisexual or gay, in whom the infection is prevalent. Syphilis can even spread from a mother to her baby; hence, one should be aware of its symptoms, prevention, and treatment.

What are the prevention/treatment options?
Syphilis is indeed a serious sexually transmitted disease; however, it can be prevented as well as cured. Abstaining from unprotected sex, not sharing sex toys, using condoms, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and using plastic square or dental dam during oral sex are some of the effective ways of preventing the risk of getting infected by syphilis. Once diagnosed, depending on the stage of the disease, the patient is treated with penicillin-based medications.

Remember, prevention is the best way of dealing with sexually transmitted diseases, which includes syphilis. However, it is advised to visit a sexologist immediately, if any of the symptoms are observed. If the infection spreads to other parts of the body, it may affect the vital organs, hence it is advised not to ignore the symptoms and undergo the treatment suggested by the sexologist, without delay.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!

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