IN THIS ARTICLE
What Increases Your Risk
Your risk of syphilis increases if you:
Syphilis is contagious whenever an open sore or skin rash is present. The risk of being infected with syphilis from a single sexual encounter with an infected partner is approximately 3% to 10%.6
Infection with syphilis also increases a person's risk of being infected with HIV. Syphilis causes open sores on the genitals that allow the HIV infection to enter the body easily. Syphilis is in general more common in people who are also infected with HIV.
When To Call a Doctor
Call to make an appointment if you:
For more information about symptoms of other sexually transmitted infections, see the topic Exposure to Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Watchful waiting, which means taking a wait-and-see approach, is not appropriate if you think you were exposed to or have syphilis or another sexually transmitted infection (STI). Any symptoms or other changes that suggest syphilis or another STI should be evaluated by a doctor. If you suspect a syphilis infection:
If you are diagnosed with syphilis, your sex partner(s) will need to be treated also.
All states require doctors to report newly diagnosed cases of syphilis (all stages) to health authorities.
Who to see
Your primary doctor can diagnose and treat syphilis.
Health professionals who can diagnose and treat sexually transmitted infections (STIs) include:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
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