Syphilis is one of the oldest and dreaded STIs and historically carriers of the syphilis bacteria have been labeled and stigmatized. Today syphilis is easily treated and cured with antibiotics.
Syphilis is largely sexually transmitted, and once acquired, it manifests in three different stages. Diagnosing it sooner helps in early treatment and preventing the infection from moving to the next stage. Undiagnosed syphilis can lead to serious damage to the heart, skin, brain and other organs. Although syphilis can be cured with the right antibiotics, the damage from long term, undiagnosed, late syphilis cannot be reversed.
Since syphilis, like many other STIs may not have recognizable symptoms, so getting tested early can lead to successful treatment. Syphilis can be prevented by using a condom (internal / external) for penetrative sex or sex dam for oral sex. It is recommended not to share injection needles or snorting drug use equipment.
Previously treated syphilis does not protect you from future infections. This is why it is important to get tested regularly if you have multiple sex partners. After completing treatment, most people need follow-up testing to make sure the treatment received is effective.
Having a conversation with a health care provider will ensure proper testing and treatment is offered.