SYPHILIS FACTS AND PHOTOS
Syphilis Images in man
Syphilis Photos in Woman
syphilis mouth sores pictures
is a sexually transmitted bacterial
infection (STI) that initially causes genital ulcers (sores). If untreated,
these ulcers can then lead to more serious symptoms of infection.
An ancient disease, syphilis
is still of major importance today. Although syphilis rates in the
United States declined by almost 90
percent from 1990 to 2000, the number of cases rose from 5,979 in 2000 to
7,980 in 2004. In a single year, from 2003 to 2004, the number of syphilis
cases jumped 8 percent.
There also was a dramatic
change in whom the disease affects. Between 2002 and 2003, the number of
cases in men increased 13.5 percent, reflecting an increase in syphilis in
men who have sex with men. During the same time the number of cases in women
declined by 27.3 percent.
disproportionately affects African Americans, who represent 41 percent of
all cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
HIV infection and syphilis
are linked. Syphilis increases the risk of transmitting as well as getting
infected with HIV
Syphilis is caused by a
bacterium called Treponema pallidum.
The most common way to get
syphilis is by having sexual contact with an infected person. If you get
infected, you can pass the bacteria from infected skin or mucous membranes
(linings), usually your genital area, lips, mouth, or anus, to the mucous
membranes or skin of your sexual partner.
Syphilis can be passed from
mother to infant during pregnancy, causing a disease called congenital
The bacteria are fragile; you
can't get them from eating utensils or through using spas, pools, or
Syphilis is sometimes called
"the great imitator" because it has so many possible symptoms, and its
symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases. Having
HIV infection at the
same time can change the symptoms and course of syphilis. Syphilis (other
than congenital syphilis) occurs in four stages that sometimes overlap.
symptom of primary syphilis is often a small, round, firm
ulcer called a chancre ("shanker") at the place where the
bacteria entered your body. This place is usually the penis,
vulva, or vagina, but chancres also can develop on the
cervix, tongue, lips, or other parts of the body. Usually
there is only one chancre, but sometimes there are many.
Nearby lymph glands are often swollen. (Lymph glands, or
nodes, are small bean-shaped organs of your immune system
containing cells that help fight off germs. They are found
throughout the body.) The chancre usually appears about 3
weeks after you're infected with the bacteria, but it can
occur any time from 9 to 90 days after exposure
chancre is usually painless and can appear inside your body,
you might not notice it. The chancre disappears in about 3
to 6 weeks whether or not you are treated. Therefore, you
can have primary syphilis without symptoms or with only
brief symptoms that could be overlooked. If primary syphilis
is not treated, however, the infection moves to the
with secondary syphilis have a non-itchy skin rash. Although
the rash is usually on the palms of your hands and soles of
your feet, it may cover your whole body or appear only in a
few areas. The rash appears 2 to 10 weeks after the chancre,
generally when the chancre is healing or already healed.
Other common symptoms include
symptoms include fever, aches,
weight loss, hair loss, aching joints, or lesions
(sores) in the mouth or genital area.
may be mild. The sores of secondary syphilis contain many
bacteria, and anyone who has contact with them can get
syphilis. As with primary syphilis, secondary syphilis will
disappear even without treatment. Without treatment,
however, the infection will move to the next stages.
You may have
recurrences of secondary syphilis..
(hidden) stage of syphilis begins when symptoms of secondary
syphilis are over.
latent syphilis, you might notice signs and symptoms, but
the infection remains in your body. When you are in this
stage, you can still infect a sexual partner.
latent syphilis, the infection is quiet and the risk of
infecting a sexual partner is low or absent. If you don't
get treated for latent syphilis, you will progress to
tertiary syphilis, the most serious stage of the disease.
treatment, only a small number of infected people develop
the dreaded complications known as tertiary, or late,
syphilis. In this stage, the bacteria will damage your
heart, eyes, brain, nervous system, bones, joints, or almost
any other part of your body. This damage can happen years or
even decades after the primary stage.
can result in mental illness, blindness, deafness, memory
loss or other neurological problems, heart disease, and
death. Late neurosyphilis (brain or spinal cord damage) is
one of the most severe signs of this stage.
It can be
very difficult for your health care provider to diagnose
syphilis based on symptoms. This is because symptoms and
signs of the disease might be absent, go away without
treatment, or be confused with those of other diseases.
Because syphilis can be hard to diagnose, you should
care provider can diagnose early syphilis by seeing a
chancre or rash and then confirming the diagnosis with
laboratory tests. Because latent syphilis has no symptoms,
it is diagnosed only by laboratory tests.
There are two
laboratory methods for making the diagnosis.
doctor thinks you might have neurosyphilis, your spinal
fluid will be tested as well.
is easy to cure in its early stages. Penicillin, an
antibiotic, injected into the muscle is the best
treatment for syphilis. If you are allergic to
penicillin, your health care provider may give you
another antibiotic to take by mouth.
have neurosyphilis, you may need to receive daily doses
of penicillin intravenously (in the vein) and may need
to be treated in the hospital.
have late syphilis, damage done to your body organs
cannot be reversed.
are being treated, you should abstain from sex until
your sores are completely healed. You should also notify
your sex partners so they can be tested for syphilis and
treated if necessary.
prevent getting syphilis, you must avoid contact with
infected tissue (a group of cells) and body fluids of an
infected person. Usually syphilis is transmitted from
people who have no visible sores or rashes and who do
not know they are infected, however.
are not infected with syphilis and are sexually active,
having mutually monogamous sex with only one uninfected
partner is the best way to prevent syphilis. Using
condoms properly and consistently during sexual
intercourse reduces the risk of getting syphilis.
or douching after sex will not prevent syphilis. Even if
you have been treated for syphilis and cured, you can be
re-infected by having sex with an infected partner.
of a mother transmitting syphilis to her unborn baby
during pregnancy declines with time but persists during
latent syphilis. To prevent passing congenital syphilis
to her unborn baby, all pregnant women should be tested
syphilis results in a high-risk pregnancy. There are an
estimated 8,000 pregnant women with syphilis in the
United States. Untreated early syphilis results in death
of the unborn baby in up to 40 percent of cases. Studies
show that if a woman contracts syphilis during the 4
years before her pregnancy, untreated early syphilis may
lead to infection of her unborn baby in more than 70
percent of cases. Therefore, if you are pregnant, you
should be tested for syphilis.
can cause miscarriages, premature births, stillbirths,
or death of newborn babies. Some infants with congenital
syphilis have symptoms at birth, but most develop
babies with congenital syphilis can have deformities,
delays in development, or seizures along with many other
problems such as rash, fever, swollen liver and spleen,
anemia, and jaundice. Sores on infected babies are
infectious. Rarely, the symptoms of syphilis go unseen
in infants so that they later develop the symptoms of
late-stage syphilis, including damage to their bones,
teeth, eyes, ears, and brains.
an estimated two- to five-fold increased risk of getting
HIV when syphilis is present. Substantial
biological evidence shows the increased likelihood that
getting and transmitting HIV is linked to the presence
of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You should
discuss this and other STIs with your health care