All you want to know about Syphilis

One of the most contagious sexually transmitted disease is syphilis. In the past it was the most common STD but its prevalence declined in the 80s and 90s. Over the past decade, there has been a resurgence in this infection which is readily acquired by anal, oral and regular sexual activity. There have been many cases where the organism that causes syphilis has been transmitted by prolonged body contact or kissing.
The problem with syphilis is that it is spread from the sores but most people have no idea that they have sores on the genitals/mouth. The majority of people today acquire syphilis from a sexual partner who has no idea that he or she has the infection. Syphilis can also be transmitted to the fetus during pregnancy and this can have devastating effect on the newborn infant.
Syphilis is not transmitted via contact with inanimate objects like the toilet seat, swimming pool, hot tub or sharing personal care items. So if you have acquired syphilis, then you probably got it from another person.
In almost every country, the rates of new cases of syphilis have almost doubled in the past decade. There was a time when syphilis was effectively treated with penicillin but today resistant strains have appeared.
Syphilis occurs in 4 stages: during the first stage the individual may develop painless sores around the genitals or the mouth. This stage last about 20-90 days. In the secondary stage, which lasts 4 -12 weeks, the individual may develop a rash which is more prominent on the soles of the feet and palms of the hand. There may be weight loss, and swollen glands during this stage. During the latent stage the infection is dormant and there are usually no symptoms. However, if syphilis is not treated it goes into a tertiary stage that results in severe damage to the blood vessels, heart and brain. One can develop blindness, dementia, impotence and deafness during this stage.
The diagnosis of syphilis is quick and easy today. A simple blood test can reveal the presence of the bacteria. Once diagnosis has been made, a single dose of penicillin is adequate for most people. For those allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics like doxycycline may be required. The partner also has to be treated to prevent the cycle of transmission.
During treatment, one should abstain from sexual activity until all signs and symptoms have disappeared. To prevent syphilis, use a condom during all sexual encounters, but this may not be sufficient if you participate in oral sex.

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