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Diseases & Conditions

Syphilis

SyphilisCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is SYPHILIS?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is usually passed on during sexual intercourse or by a pregnant mother to her fetus during pregnancy or birth.

Causes of Syphilis

Bad Blood is caused by the spiral shaped Treponema Pallidum bacteria. This bacterium travels by twisting itself and cannot survive for long outside the human body. These bacteria are very thin and can only be detected via special laboratory tests, such as the Dieterle Stain and Treponemal and Nontreponemal antibody tests.

Besides sexual intercourse, in some cases the disease can also be transmitted via the infected needle of an injection.

Medication for Syphilis

Here are some of the medications that are commonly used to treat Bad Blood. These may vary depending on the exact type and extent of the disease that the patient has.

  • Benzathine Penicillin G (Bicillin)
  • Aqueous Crystalline Penicillin G
  • Procaine Penicillin
  • Azithromycin (Zithromax)
  • Doxycycline (Doryx, Doxy, Vibramycin)

Prevention of Syphilis

Syph can be prevented from spreading in the following ways:

  • By using a condom.
  • By avoiding having multiple sexual partners.
  • By following safe injection practices.
  • If diagnosed and treated for the disease, by following up to ensure that the infection has been completely eliminated.
  • If pregnant, by having a prenatal blood test done for syphilis.

Risk Factors of Syphilis

Bad Blood can lead to various medium to serious health risks, such as:

  • A greater susceptibility to contracting the HIV/AIDS virus
  • Greater difficulty in treating patients who already have HIV
  • The symptoms of Syph usually disappear, even if left untreated, so it is important to have it correctly diagnosed at an early stage.
  • Cardiovascular Syphilis can result in an aneurysm being formed.
  • Tertiary Bad Blood can lead to mental problems or insanity due to lesions forming in the nervous system.
  • In the Congenital form, this disease can lead to numerous problems for the newborn, such as mental retardation, anemia, eye and teeth damage.

  • Symptoms of Syphilis

    Since Syph is a very complex disease, its symptoms are equally complex and vary depending on the type and stage of the disease the infected person has. With Primary Syphilis, a skin wound appears at the point of contact, anywhere between 3 days to 3 months after the infection has taken place. Another common symptom is lymph node enlargement. With Secondary Syphilis, the most common symptom is a non-itchy rash that appears on the extremities of the infected person or patchy hair loss. The Tertiary stage occurs 3 – 30 years after the Secondary stage, and is characterized by large patches of lesions on the body. With Congenital Syph, the infected infant can display skin lesions, an enlarged spleen or deformed bones, which may show up at birth or later on.

    Treatment for Syphilis

    The most effective treatment for Bad Blood is penicillin – injected into the muscle or given by intravenous. For those who have the Primary and Secondary condition, the disease can usually be successfully treated with a 7 to 10 day course of medication, whereas for those who are in the Tertiary stage a minimum of a 21 day regimen is required. Patients who are allergic to penicillin can opt for Erythromycin or Tetracylines.

    Types of Syphilis

    Also known as “Bad Blood” and “Syph”, this disease can appear in several forms and usually advances as time lapses from when the infection was first contracted. Primary Syphilis is obtained by coming directly into sexual contact with an infected person who has contagious wounds. Secondary, Tertiary, Gummatous, Cardiovascular and Late Neurosyphilis are types of Syph that appear much later – anywhere between after 1 to 45 years of the infection. Congenital Syphilis is the type transmitted from mother to fetus.