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I know that the treatment for syphilis is a needle in the butt, but I'm terrified of needles. Are there alternatives treatments?

Fear of needles is common, so you’re not the only one who feels this way about syphilis treatment.

There is an alternative for people who are allergic to penicillin, however it requires close follow up to make sure that treatment has been effective. For the rest of us, 2 needles in the bum cheek really is our best option.

It’s normal to feel anxious around needles, so tell your health care provider how you’re feeling. Sometimes they can help you through tense moments by distracting you or being a little extra patient and gentle. There may also be ways to manage your fear during the appointment like practicing breathing techniques to relax, having something to read, scrolling through your phone, or distracting yourself with more positive thoughts when you are getting the treatment.

The bottom line is that going through the momentary discomfort of treatment, as nerve-wracking as it can be, is still better than not getting treatment. Untreated syphilis can have serious health consequences and leave us vulnerable to other sexually transmitted infections like HIV.

Getting treatment is also a way to help you protect your partner(s). You can also try to re-frame it from a scary appointment to an appointment to protect your health. Getting treated is a step to be proud of.