What is Syphilis?
Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum and is highly contagious. Syphilis can be contracted during oral, vaginal, and anal sex and occurs in stages. These stages are known as ‘primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary’ and each stage has its own set of symptoms. Syphilis is curable in its earlier stages, but if the infection goes untreated, can cause very serious and irreversible health complications. Syphilis is often called “the great imitator” because many of its symptoms are indistinguishable from other diseases.
Effects of Untreated Syphilis?
Syphilis is easy to cure but is often misdiagnosed because its symptoms can imitate other illnesses, such as the flu. If caught in the early stages of syphilis (primary, secondary, and latent), syphilis can be treated with a single dose of penicillin. The penicillin will kill all bacterium associated with the infection and prevent any further damage. It cannot reverse or remove any existing damage, which is is why it is important that the infection is tested for and treated early on.
If left untreated, the effects of syphilis infection can create severe life-threatening organ damage. Lack of treatment can lead to:
- Tumors in the mouth, nose, tongue, bones, skin, and liver
- Chest pain or difficulty breaking due to heart valve damage or damage to the wall of the aorta, which is the major blood vessel bringing blood from the heart to the rest of the body
- Nerve and/or brain damage, resulting in paralysis, disorientation, lack of coordination, loss of sensation, blindness, intellectual deterioration, personality changes, mood swings, and impotence
How do I know if I have Syphilis?
The initial symptoms of syphilis typically manifest as a single ulcer (also known as a chancre) that appears at the site of infection. They usually appear near the genitals, but can also up around the mouth or anus. These chancres usually appear as a small, firm, painless sore that oozes fluid containing syphilis bacteria.
1 to 5 weeks after the initial appearance of the chancre, the infection progresses to rashes and symptoms that are flu-like in nature:
- Copper-colored spots or small red dots on palms of the hands and on the soles of the feet
- Small pus-filled blisters and thick gray or pink patches on the arms, legs, and torso
- White patches inside the mouth
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Sore throat
- Lack of appetite
If left untreated, these symptoms progress into the later stages of syphilis, which can lead to organ failure and even death.
Don’t Wait for Symptoms – Get Tested Now
You should get an STD test even if you are not showing any symptoms. Many avoid getting tested because they are not exhibiting any symptoms or because their symptom overlap with/are mistaken for other existing illnesses. This can lead to spreading the STD, and if left untreated, can result in severe health risks or even death. A untreated STD can never just go away on their own – only with proper treatment. If you are unsure as to whether your symptoms are the result of an STD, please visit Symptoms for more information.
Why You Should Get Tested
Sexually transmitted diseases are one of the most overwhelming yet under-recognized health problems in the United States. Even though it is recommended to get tested every three months when you’re sexually active, the stigma surrounding STD testing makes it a sensitive subject instead of a common check-up.
Per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year and approximately 25% of Americans have some form of an incurable STD. To make matters worse, most STDs won’t display symptoms at first or will even display symptoms that can be mistaken for another illness, such as a yeast infection or the flu. Instead, those that are infected will remain completely unaware of their status, leading to them spreading the infection to others and not getting treatment until it is too late.
It’s no wonder that for Herpes alone, 85% of people who are infected don’t even know they have it. Chlamydia, one of the most common and curable STDs, will often not display symptoms until it is too late. As a result, 1 in 5 infected women will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), resulting in reproductive issues and even infertility. Despite being the deadliest STD of all, 1 in 7 people who are infected with HIV do not realize that they are infected – their initial symptoms are usually shrugged off as the flu. Only until it is too late, when HIV turns into AIDS, do they realize that they are infected.
Long story short, not getting tested for STDs can be extremely dangerous as some STDs can have some life-threatening symptoms if they go untreated. STDs are usually stereotyped as a big joke – a mere annoyance, like an itch or burning sensation that just won’t go away. The truth is that untreated STDs can ruin more than just your physical health – it can ruin all of your life’s plans. Everything in your life can become tainted by an STD – having children, your relationships, even your life expectancy. The best cure is prevention, and the best way to prevent STDs is to get regularly checked.
At Private STD Screen, we believe in making STD testing readily accessible, striving for the utmost discretion, and delivering quick results. Our convenient checkout process makes buying a test a breeze. Just buy your test, go to a testing location near you, give your sample, and receive your results within a few days through our secure portal. No confusing paperwork, no long waits, and very discreet. Know your status today!