Syphilis STD is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. When left untreated, it can cause severe and permanent damage to the body. It is especially dangerous in pregnant women as it can be passed on to the baby, causing birth defects or even death. It can be treated with antibiotics.
How It Is Transmitted
Syphilis is primarily transmitted through sexual activity, through contact with the sores it causes, sexual or not, has the potential to pass on the disease. It can be passed on to others through oral, anal, and vaginal sex. Both men and women can carry and show symptoms of syphilis.
Who It Affects
Syphilis is more likely to infect men than women and is most common in those under the age of 30. However, anyone who engages in unprotected sex is at risk. The more partners a person has, the greater their risk is.
The symptoms Syphilis STD presents with vary depending on the stage of the infection. There are four stages a person may present with: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Potential symptoms include:
- Sores on the genitals, with or without pain
- Sores on the mouth, with or without pain
- Sores on the rectum, with or without pain
- A truncal rash that spreads across the body
- Warts on the genitals
- Hair loss
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands
Syphilis can lead to significant health complications impacting the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bone, and joints. When passed to infants, it can cause birth defects and death. It is vital that treatment for syphilis is sought as soon as possible to prevent the worst side effects from taking place.
Because the risks of syphilis are so great, anyone who is sexually active should be tested for the disease at least once a year.