Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is caused by a bacterial infection and can cause serious health problems for you and your baby if not treated.

Syphilis has been on the decline in Trinidad & Tobago in the number of women attending antenatal care. It is divided into stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary), and there are different signs and symptoms associated with each stage. However, it is easy to cure if found early.

 

How is Syphilis spread?

You can get syphilis by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You can find sores on or around the genitals, on the lips or in the mouth. Syphilis can spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby.

 

What if I have syphilis?

If you think you may have syphilis, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will confirm the diagnosis with testing and start treatment if required.

It may also be a good idea to be tested for other sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV.

It is safest not to have sex, even with a condom, until after you have completed the full course of treatment. Syphilis is very infectious, particularly during the early stages.

It is very important to tell previous sex partners who may have been exposed so that they can also be tested and treated if infected. Your doctor will help you decide who you need to tell and how you can tell them.

 

Can Syphilis be cured?

Yes, syphilis can be cured with the right antibiotics from your health care provider. However, treatment might not undo any damage that the infection has already done.