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SYPHILIS

Frequently Asked Questions

What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the Treponema pallidum bacterium. Syphilis can cause long-term complications and even death if not treated properly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports about 56,000 new syphilis infections annually in the United States, of which 13,970 are primary and secondary (P&S) infections . Syphilis symptoms can look like many other diseases and the infection progresses in stages if not treated early. The first stage of syphilis is known as chancre which occurs on the genitals, vagina, anus or in the rectum. This chancre appears where the syphilis virus entered the body. Without treatment the person progresses to the second stage which begins with skin rashes and mucous membrane lesions or sores that are usually found in the mouth, vagina or anus. During the last and most dangerous latent stage, syphilis becomes asymptomatic (shows no symptoms) if the infected person does not receive treatment. This period lasts for years and could result in serious organ damage and even death.

How do you test for syphilis?
STDcheck.com tests for syphilis using the FDA-approved Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) test. This RPR test looks for antibodies developed by the body to combat the syphilis virus. A confirmatory test is performed if the initial test comes back positive.

How is syphilis transmitted??
Syphilis is transmitted through direct contact with a syphilis sore which can be a chancre or a lesion on the body of an infected person. Chancres are usually present on external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum of an infected person. They can also be found inside the mouth or on the lips. The easiest way to contract syphilis is by having unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex with an infected person. It can be transmitted is by an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy.

How soon can I get tested for syphilis after exposure?
Our doctors recommend syphilis testing 3 - 6 weeks after possible exposure.

What do I need to do to prepare for a syphilis test?
No preparation or fasting is necessary to take the syphilis RPR test through STDcheck.com.

See our Syphilis Testing information.