three main stages, primary stage, secondary stage, and latent stage. The latent stage may lead to a final stage called the
disease, all of which can be prevented.
The primary stage of syphilis is characterized by a small lesion, called a chancre, which resembles a pimple, blister or
open sore. This occurs anytime between nine days and three months after infection. Fluid from the chancre is extremely
of the labia. On men, it usually hides in the folds of the foreskin, under the scrotum, or near the base of the penis. Men
more often than women will also have swollen lymph nodes in the groin. At this stage, the chancre is very infectious. It
will heal with or without treatment, but the bacteria will remain and begin to spread if untreated.
In the secondary stage, occurring about six weeks later, a generalized rash appears. It can last for weeks or months,
perhaps up to a year. Painless ulcers develop in the mouth. Most people discover raised areas around the genitals or
anus. The bacteria can be easily spread through mucous patches on the raised areas, which are called condylomalata.
Flu-like symptoms start to occur, and can come and go for years. These symptoms may include a rash (over entire
during the secondary stage of syphilis.
The disease then enters a latent stage in which no outward signs or symptoms occur, however, the bacteria are active
stage symptoms completely disappear, the disease is no longer infectious. At this point, the “rule of thirds” comes into
play. Among the total number of latent syphilis cases, one-third will go away on their own, one-third will stabilize, and
one-third of the cases will evolve to the next and last stage. When the final stage, tertiary syphilis, does occur, it could
internal organs. The bones are also affected, as well as the liver, kidney, and other visceral organs. Infection of the heart
and major blood vessels accounts for most of the syphilis related deaths.
A special kind of syphilis, which occurs in nearly 15 percent of the tertiary cases, is called neurosyphilis. It causes lack
typical signs, such as high forehead, saddlenose, and peg-shaped teeth.
marked decline in the number of tertiary stage cases of syphilis and of deaths due to the disease. Syphilis is mostly
treated by an injection of penicillin, or by a two-week regimen of tetracycline. Two follow-up blood tests two weeks
apart from the initial test and two weeks apart from each other are needed to ensure the treatment was effective. The
first three stages of syphilis are completely curable, and even in the last stage syphilis can be stopped. With the present
medical technology to diagnose and treat syphilis, there is no excuse for anyone in the U.S. to suffer the last stage of
effective in treating syphilis. Early detection of syphilis disables the disease completely. In pregnant women, early
detection of the infection can reduce the chances of the fetus becoming infected.
Syphilis is sexually a transmitted disease, and is usually transmitted by sexual contact or kissing. The way it infects is
infection from contaminated objects is rare, because drying quickly kills the organisms. You cannot obtain syphilis from
condom, or sustain from sexual activity all together. If you do see any early signs of syphilis, contact a doctor right
away, and it can almost certainly be cured in the primary and early secondary stages.