Donate

Fundraising

Volunteer

           

Donate

Fundraising

Volunteer

SSHC LOGO

30 years of Sexual Wellbeing, LGBTQ+ and HIV Support

SSHC LOGO

About Us

Overview

History

Myths and Facts

Useful Websites

Other Groups

Vacancies

Sexual Health

Introduction

C-Card Scheme

STIs – Intro.

HIV

Syphilis

Gonorrhoea

Genital Warts

Trichomoniasis

Genital Herpes

Pubic Lice

Chlamydia

Services

Introduction

One-to-One Support

Client Support

PACE

Buddy Line

Brew Buddies

Talking Therapies

Partnership Working

Volunteer

STIs – Syphilis

How do you get it?

The most common way of getting syphilis is by having unprotected sex with someone who’s infected.

You can get the infection if you come into contact with an ulcer on their penis, vagina, bottom, or inside their mouth.

It’s also possible for syphilis to be passed on:

  • To an unborn baby during pregnancy (congenital syphilis)
  • By injecting drugs with a needle that’s been used by an infected person

Wearing a condom during vaginal, anal and oral sex prevents the spread of syphilis.

Also use a condom if you are using a sex toy with someone.

 

Syphilis

The symptoms

Ulcers on your penis, vagina, or around your bottom – these are usually painless and you may only have one of them
sores in other areas, including in your mouth or on your lips, hands or bottom

White or grey warty growths most commonly on your penis, vagina or around your anus.

A rash on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet that can sometimes spread all over your body – this is not usually itchy.

White patches in your mouth.

Flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, headaches and tiredness
swollen glands.

Patchy hair loss on the head, beard and eyebrows.

The risks

Heart problems like angina, aortic aneurysm and heart failure.

Brain problems like fits (seizures), memory problems, personality changes and dementia.

Nerve problems like shooting pains, pins and needles, joint pain and gradual damage the joints.

Problems with the skin, bones, testicles, liver and any other organ.

Some of these problems may not appear for many years after being infected with syphilis.

 

Testing

If you have symptoms of syphilis, a doctor or nurse will check your penis, vagina and bottom for syphilis ulcers. They may use a swab to collect a fluid sample from any sores.

They’ll also check the rest of your body for other signs of syphilis like a rash, sores or wart-like growths. They may also take a blood sample.

Treatment

Syphilis is treated with antibiotics, which you may have as injections, tablets or capsules.

Treatment may be started before your test result is known. How long you need treatment for will depend on the stage of your syphilis.

In some people, treatment can cause flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, headache and aching muscles. This usually lasts for up to 24 hours.

You’ll need to go back to the GP surgery or sexual health clinic 6 and 12 weeks after starting treatment to be retested.