Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection or STI that can be transmitted during sex without using a condom, sharing needles, injecting equipments and from mother-to-child at the time of pregnancy. It cannot be passed on through hugging, sharing food or using the same toilet of an infected person. Syphilis can be treated by taking antibiotics, but it is necessary to get tested and treated early on at the nearest private GP practice, as without treatment, it may lead to health problems for a long time.
How you can get and avoid syphilis
Sex and syphilis
Syphilis is a common sexually transmitted disease that occurs due to anal, oral or vaginal sex without a condom or dental dam or with someone already having it.
Syphilis can lead to infectious rashes or sores. If you have close contact with them, then syphilis can be passed on easily. This means the infection can be passed on through genital contact or sex, even when you do not ejaculate.
How to prevent syphilis from being passed on through sex
You need to use condoms and dental dams correctly and consistently while enjoying sex to prevent syphilis infection. Make sure you use a new condom each time and remember that the condom or dental dam must cover rashes or sores or else you will not be protected.
Syphilis can be passed on easily by sharing sex toys. If you want to lessen the risk of syphilis, then it is advised not to share your sex toys or make sure they are covered with a new condom between each use.
Private syphilis testing and other sexually transmitted infections are important, particularly when you have sex with multiple partners. Talking to your partner about your sexual health and knowing the statues of each other can help to protect both of your sexual health.
Share needles and blood transfusions
Syphilis might be passed on when you share needles and injecting equipments. So, you must avoid them to prevent the risk of the disease. It is quite possible for syphilis to spread through blood transfusions, but this is very rare as most places will test blood to detect any infection before transfusions. If you are extremely worried about a blood transfusion, then it is advised to talk to your healthcare provider.
Syphilis and pregnancy
Syphilis can be passed from the mother to child during pregnancy which is known as congenital syphilis. If you want to prevent syphilis, then it is important that women test for syphilis during pregnancy. Pregnant mothers are advised to test during their first antenatal appointment and after any time that they think had been at risk for getting syphilis.
When the test result is positive, your healthcare worker will ask taking antibiotics to cure the infection for you and your baby. It is necessary to undergo the treatment, because without it syphilis might be very risky for your baby and increase the chance of miscarriage and stillbirth.
Symptoms of syphilis
- Early symptoms – The first thing a person might notice is a chancre or painless sore which occurs around the anus or genitals. Chancres usually heal by themselves, but without proper treatment the infection will develop further and health problems might occur.
- Later symptoms – A few weeks after early symptoms have passed, you might feel ill with headache or fever and notice weight loss or skin growths around the anus or genitals.
- Latent stage – A person might live with syphilis for years without any signs of infection. If syphilis is left untreated, the infection will lead to serious health problems.
Syphilis and HIV
If you are diagnosed with syphilis then it is suggested to test for HIV too. Having an STI like syphilis, then this might increase the risk of getting HIV. This is because an STI that causes sores will make it easy for HIV to get into your body and lead to an infection.
People who are having HIV are more likely to get syphilis. This is mainly for the ones people who have a lower CD4 count or are not on any treatment. You are highly susceptible to infections like syphilis in case your immune system is weak. Syphilis might develop more quickly in people with HIV and so, if you already have HIV, chances are you might have syphilis too. Hence, it is extremely important to get tested and treated as early as possible.
You need to fix an appointment with your private doctor in London when living with HIV and get necessary treatment for syphilis. Make sure the medication for syphilis does not affect your antiretroviral treatment or ART).