How do I get Treated for Syphilis?
Syphilis is curable with antibiotics, but it is important to treat the disease in its early stages to prevent long-term damage. For those who have been infected with syphilis for less than a year, a single shot of penicillin usually cures the infection. Multiple doses of antibiotics may be necessary for prolonged infections. Syphilis can be cured, but any bodily damage caused by the virus in its tertiary stage is irreversible.
Since syphilis symptoms are often mistaken for other conditions or nonexistent, it is important to get tested at least yearly to avoid irreversible complications and ensure early treatment. When present, first stage syphilis symptoms in women include a chancre on the labia, vaginal area, mouth or anus. First stage syphilis symptoms in men include a chancre on the penis, scrotum, mouth, or anus. Symptoms will eventually heal, but syphilis will still be present in the body. If syphilis is not detected in the primary stage, it will progress to the secondary stage.
The second stage of syphilis is characterized by a rough, reddish-brown rash on the hands and soles of the feet. Some people experience muscle aches, fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms may permanently clear up within a few weeks or repeatedly come back for about a year.
If syphilis goes untreated after the first and second stage, it can progress to the latent or hidden stage where no syphilis symptoms are present. This stage can last for years and may eventually advance to the tertiary stage. The tertiary stage is characterized by serious complications including organ damage and neurological problems. It is important to seek syphilis treatment before it progresses to the tertiary stage.
All sex partners should have a syphilis test and treated if positive. It is important for people with syphilis and their partners to abstain for sexual intercourse until treatment is completed to avoid re-infection. Confirmatory syphilis testing is recommended following treatment to ensure the syphilis infection is fully cured.