Syphilis has returned once again and in some groups has increased hugely over the last 5 years or so, by up to 1500%. It is still fairly rare in heterosexual people but is increasingly common in gay and bisexual males. People with lots of sexual partners and people who attend sex parties are especially at risk.
What is Syphilis?
It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteria, Treponema Pallidum.
How can I get Syphilis?
Any sexual activity with someone who has Syphilis may result in you developing it. It is highly infectious and is easily spread. Kissing, unprotected oral sex with males or females, rimming, unprotected penetrative sex may all cause transfer of syphilis.
Touching someone else's genitals or anus where there is a syphilis infection or sore - called a chancre - and then touching your own genitals or mouth may cause infection with syphilis.
How do I know if I've got Syphilis?
A new infection with syphilis will usually give a painless, ulcer like lesion at the site of contact. This is called primary syphilis. However, these can be mysterious and will often heal on their own and disappear. If the first lesion is inside the anus or vagina or at the back of the mouth, then it is common to miss it. Secondary syphilis may then develop with a rash, general unwell feeling, a rash on the palms and soles of feet.
Be vigilant and get yourself checked when you have unprotected sex with a new partner. If you're having sex outside your usual relationship, make sure you protect your regular partner by getting tested before you have sex again.
Testing for Syphilis at Freedomhealth is quick and easy. A small sample of blood is taken and sent to our specialised laboratory. Results are usually available in 4 hours.
Treatment at Freedomhealth follows UK National Guidance and usually involves injections of penicillin. These can be painful, so we add some local anaesthetic to make it easy for you.
New treatments are now coming on line which seems to show the same degree of efficacy as penicillin injections. We can discuss these with you at the time of diagnosis