While syphilis can be a very serious sexually transmitted disease (STD), the condition is completely treatable when it is contracted. Spread during vaginal, oral, or anal sex, as well as from a pregnant mother to her baby, syphilis can be hard to detect. As with any STD, abstinence remains the only sure-fire preventative measure. However, knowing your status by using SeroMatch’s accurate, discreet Web-based STD testing and knowing that your potential partners have done the same via SeroMatch’s dating community gives you a layer of protection that almost rivals abstinence.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection, which means that it can be spread through touch alone; a male does not need to ejaculate in order for syphilis to be passed to his partner.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the rates of syphilis in the United States are declining amongst women, but are increasing amongst men. Those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners, have unprotected sex with a partner who has syphilis, have same-sex anal sex, or are infected with HIV are at an increased risk of contracting syphilis.
Complications of Syphilis
When syphilis is not treated, it can cause long-term and serious complications. In addition to an increased risk of HIV and causing problems during pregnancy – including an increased risk of miscarriage - syphilis can also lead to cardiovascular problems and neurological problems, including an increased risk of aneurysm, dementia, stroke, and meningitis.
Recognizing and Treating Syphilis
As stated above, detecting syphilis can be hard to do. This is because the symptoms of syphilis mirror the symptoms of many other health complications and clear up on their own. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the symptoms of syphilis as:
- First Stage: A hard, round sore or sores at the location where syphilis entered the body that lasts between three and six weeks and heals on its own.
- Second Stage: Skin rashes and sores that are found on the vagina, anus, or/and around the mouth. In addition to the rash, other symptoms may be experienced as well, including fever, swollen lymph nodes, hair loss, and fatigue. Like the initial sores, the rash will go away on its own without treatment.
- Advanced Stage: The syphilis will enter a latent stage, where the bacteria lie dormant and no symptoms are detected. In fact, symptoms may not reappear for an additional 10 to 30 years. Then, symptoms are more severe, and may include paralysis, blindness, trouble moving, dementia, and organ damage.
It is incredibly important that syphilis be treated early on. Sometimes, a single injection of penicillin is enough to correct the disease. If you wait too long, know that treatment will not reverse any damage to your body that has already occurred. Given the latency of the advanced stage of syphilis and the often-undetected nature of the disease, it remains in your best interests to know the status of your partners; a dating model facilitated through the SeroMatch community.
Get Tested & Protect Yourself
When you’re seeing someone new, thinking about STDs isn’t sexy at all. Before things get physical, make sure your partner is STD-free (and that you are too) by joining the SeroMatch community. Read more about our prices and packages here.