Syphilis: Facts, Causes And Prevention

The number of people affected by Syphilis has increased considerably since 1995. It has gone double the number within a span of ten years. In most of the cases, it is the men who are affected and more than 90% of them seem to have the same sexual partners. Infection rates in women have come down rather rapidly. Last year 16,000 cases were reported to have been syphilis. However, these numbers could be wrong. One the reasons syphilis is increasing is because the usage of condoms has come down. The only way to get detected is by undergoing a test in any test centers such as a  STD clinic Pittsburgh. You can also check the website http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/hhsa/programs/phs/community_health_statistics/ for more information on syphilis cases.

The increase in numbers is something to be concerned about, because if left unattended it can result in acquiring HIV. The possibility of a syphilis infected person acquiring HIV is as high as 70% and there is no treatment for HIV at present. Syphilis is caused by a bacteria called as Treponema pallidum. It can enter the human body via any small openings and mostly it enters via sexual intercourse. Very rarely they spread via contact with other infected surfaces or skin and sometimes during delivery. Therefore, the possibility of getting infected by syphilis is more than you can imagine.

During the initial stages of the disease, a sore appears which is called as chancre. Even the sore takes weeks to appear after getting infected. The size of the sore can be large or small which is why many times it goes unnoticed. It does not cause any pain nor does it have any odor. It just appears as a shallow ulcer. Some people even get multiple sores like this various places in the infected area. They will disappear off on their own after time but they are capable of spreading quickly.

If this initial sore is left untreated, within weeks it can develop into flu-like symptoms accompanied by headache, muscle ache, sore throat, joint ache and low fever etc. The rashes that cover the mucous membrane of the skin are present in palms and also in the soles of the feet.

When the disease gets to this stage, most people seek medical help. If it is left as is even after this, then it can develop into serious complications after one or even 30 years. This late stage syphilis can affect any organ in the human body and it is capable of causing severe damage to the heart and brain.

One of the best methods to diagnose syphilis is by undergoing a blood test that can screen for any possible infections. Penicillin is known to be an effective drug against syphilis and the intensity of the treatment depends on the level of infection and stage of the disease. There are also alternate options available to patients who are allergic to penicillin. There are no vaccines for preventing the disease and the best method to avoid it is by following safe sexual practices