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I got treated for syphilis but my boyfriend doesn't want to go to the doctor. What should I do?

Glad to hear that you are managing your sexual health through testing and treatment. Getting treated for syphilis once does not make you immune to re-infection. So if your sexual partner has syphilis, you can get it again. Syphilis can also affect the health of a fetus; something to consider if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.

There are ways to reduce the chances of becoming re-infected:

  • Use condoms for vaginal, anal and oral sex with this partner to prevent transmission.
  • Avoid sharing needles, which can also expose you to blood borne infections.
  • Talk to your health care provider about how often you should get tested for STIs.

As for your boyfriend, he really should be tested for syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections. Testing is the only way that he’ll be able to access treatment to clear the infection. Syphilis and other STIs do not go away on their own and can have serious health effects. He doesn’t need to go to the same clinician as you. If there is a doctor, nurse or clinic that he is familiar with, he can ask for STI testing and treatment from them. Unfortunately, if your partner does have untreated syphilis he may eventually have other symptoms on parts of his body like hands, arms or feet that may be infectious even during non-sexual contact.

In the end, you are only able to make decisions for and manage your own health. It may be helpful to talk with your boyfriend about why testing and treating STIs is a priority for you, but you can’t force medical care on him. At some point you may want to consider if potentially being re-exposed to syphilis is something that you are comfortable with or not in your relationship.