Symptoms and Signs of Syphilis

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 6/23/2022

Doctor's Notes on Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection or sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is caused by infection with the bacterium Treponema pallidum. The infection spreads by any type of sexual contact and occurs in both men and women.

Signs and symptoms of early syphilis include sores or rash in the mouth, vagina, or anus. The sores are firm, rounded, and do not cause pain. Itching is usually not present. Associated symptoms and signs of the second stage of syphilis include

If the disease is not treated, it can progress to a late stage that can persist for years. Late-stage symptoms include

What Is the Treatment for Syphilis?

Antibiotic treatment, specifically penicillin, is the treatment for syphilis. People who are allergic to penicillin may be treated with other antibiotics. In early stages of the disease, a single injection of long-acting penicillin may be all that is needed. For later stages or for infections of unknown duration, treatment with more powerful forms of penicillin over a longer period of time is usually required.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.