What it is
Syphilis is a dangerous disease that can affect the whole body.
- Syphilis is caused by bacteria (a kind of germ).
- You get syphilis by having sex with someone who has it.
- Syphilis can be spread by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
The signs of syphilis can be so mild that you may never notice them. The first sign is a painless
sore, called a chancre. This sore can be on or near the vagina, penis, mouth, or anus.
- You may not even see or feel the sore.
- It heals by itself even if it is not treated. But you still have syphilis.
After a few weeks or months, you may have some of these signs:
- Joint pain
- Hair loss
- Sore throat
These signs may also go away without treatment. But you still have the disease.
Syphilis can be cured with medicine. But if you don't get treated, you could:
- Pass it on to others.
- Have a higher chance of getting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).
If not treated, over time syphilis can cause serious health problems, such as:
- Brain damage
- Heart disease
If a woman has syphilis while she is pregnant:
- Her baby could have birth defects.
- Her baby may be born dead.