Top Menu

Menu
Menu

Syphilis

Summary

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. It infects the genital area, lips, mouth, or anus of both men and women. You usually get syphilis from sexual contact with someone who has it. It can also pass from mother to baby during pregnancy.

The early stage of syphilis usually causes a single, small, painless sore. Sometimes it causes swelling in nearby lymph nodes. If you do not treat it, syphilis usually causes a non-itchy skin rash, often on your hands and feet. Many people do not notice symptoms for years. Symptoms can go away and come back.

The sores caused by syphilis make it easier to get or give someone HIV during sex. If you are pregnant, syphilis can cause birth defects, or you could lose your baby. In rare cases, syphilis causes serious health problems and even death.

Syphilis is easy to cure with antibiotics if you catch it early. Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading syphilis.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Find an Expert

Clinical Trials

Patient Handouts

Array

Encyclopedia

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • Male Condoms Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Statistics and Research

Related Issues

  • Neurosyphilis National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Women

Images

Journal Articles

Start Here

  • Syphilis National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Syphilis Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Teenagers

Children

Men

Diagnosis and Tests

Specifics

  • Tabes Dorsalis National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Print Friendly, PDF & Email