Syphilis has many other names such as syph, cupid’s disease, the pox, lues, and the French disease. It’s a sexually transmitted infection, a highly contagious stealthy infection that is caused by the bacterium Treponema palladium (a species of spirochaete bacterium with subspecies that cause treponemal diseases). Syphilis has been spread by humans all over the world since the year 1500,it’s been around longer then any other sexually transmitted disease. This disease was rampant in Europe and some say that it may have been carried here to the United States when the Europeans settled here.
Today over 36,000 people are infected with the disease in the United States each year. Even though syphilis infects a large amount of people and is highly contagious its not one of the most common transmitted infections but it is on the rise. Thing’s that increase your chance of syphilis are being between the ages of 15 and 34 years of age, having had sex with an infected person, having multiple sex partners, not using condoms during sexual activity, touching a lesion/rash, sharing needles, blood exposure past or current std’s. Syphilis causes sores on the infected area, the genitals and the mouth are the most common places.
It can be contracted through multiple kinds of sexual activity vaginal, anal and oral sex just to name a few, even kissing and touching with an infected person could spread this disease. This disease can also be spread from mother to baby if mother is infected and untreated at the time of birth and has a vaginal delivery. Syphilis can also be spread by having an open wound on the skin and come in contact with a syphilis sore or rash and sharing needles, blood exposure past. Syphilis can only be transmitted through skin to skin contact or bodily fluids.
You can’t pick this disease up by touching objects used by an infected person, nor by toilet seats, swimming pools, hot tubs, shared clothing, eating utensils, or things of that nature. Syphilis is said to some times be a silent disease. Some people have been infected for years and may have never aware of it because they may not have shown any symptoms, and some may experience symptoms at different stages of infection. The first stage is called the primary stage some Symptoms are sores or lesions, which are the first sign of syphilis this can happen within 10-90 day of exposure. they are usually painless and are found on the outside or inside area of the vagina, the cervix, or anywhere on the mouth ,lips, and/or tongue.
Syphilis can also infect the anus, urethra, or penis. The next symptom or usually is a rash, the rash this stage develops from several weeks to months after infection. usually occurs on the skin on the bottom of the hands or feet. The rash usually lasts 2-6 weeks. It doesn’t usually itch, but it looks like a rough patch of skin, it may be red or brown in color, different rashes my appear on the body elsewhere like the groin area, mouth.
The latency(resting) stage is the stage the infection is present but there are no symptoms showing this could last for many years this is when the blood test would come back positive early latency is when the disease is mostly spread to others. Early latency is usually the first year. During late latency people a least infectious, how ever a pregnant women can pass syphilis to her unborn baby at this time. The third symptom is feeling sick, fever and fatigue are common some experience weight lose, frequent headaches, muscle pain, and throat soreness and swelling of the lymph nodes are common also.
The fourth stage is hair loss, patches of hair may start to fallout on the head or other areas of the body. The tertiary stage can occur months even years after the initial infections it’s very rare in developed countries this is the stage that began to damage the brain and nerves, eyes, heart and blood vessels, the liver, and bones and joints. symptoms my disappear only to resurface later. Finally syphilis can cause symptoms to the nervous system if it goes untreated for a very long time and even death. Untreated syphilis is very serious, and can be fatal.
Some complications and health problems associated with syphilis are damage to the nervous system can occur, and so can tumors, blindness, and dementia(Deterioration of intellectual faculties, such as memory, concentration, and judgment, resulting from an organic disease or a disorder of the brain. ) In some very bad cases people may ever become paralyzed from syphilis. In cases where the disease is passed from mother to baby it’s very serious it could cause stillbirth of death in newborns when it passed from mother to child its called congenital syphilis.
Babies who survive without treatment can experience serious health complications and even die from syphilis. The screening and diagnosis for syphilis are blood test, which can quickly and easily diagnose the disease ,and so can study of a sample of lymph node fluid. Experts believe that all pregnant woman should be screened for syphilis, and anyone who has symptoms or think that they may have come in contact with an infected person should also get screened. After being screened regular blood test are done to make sure the bacteria is completely destroyed.
Treatment of syphilis is easy if caught early it could be treated with antibiotics usually penicillin, which is the best treatment. The length of treatment depends on how long you’ve had the infection. For people who are allergic to penicillin there are non-penicillin alternatives such as Doxycycline, Ceftriaxone, Tetracycline, and Azithromycin. The best way of prevention is to absences, until treatment is completed and you have the okay from the doctor. Making regular doctor visits. Also using condoms, and having one partner who is uninfected could prevent and reduce the spreading of syphilis. Once you’ve had syphilis you can get it again.