5 major Facts about Syphilis

- Syphilis is a very widespread sexually-transmitted disease caused by bacteria.

- Syphilis is made up of three stages: the primary stage, secondary stage, and late stage.

- This first stage of syphilis is called the primary stage of syphilis and it kicks in after about three weeks since initial exposure to the bacteria. Its earliest symptom is a small, round, painless sore known as a chancre. This chancre can pop up on the rectum, mouth, anus, or genitals, wherever the syphilis bacteria entered. It can disappear after a few weeks, without treatment. However, that does not mean the syphilis infection is cured.

- The secondary stage of syphilis may start while the chancre is still there. But, usually, it begins a few weeks after the disappearance of the chancre. During this stage, more visible symptoms show up including rashes on the palms of the hand and soles of the feet, muscle aches, weight loss, appetite loss, patchy hair loss, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, fatigue, fever, and muscle aches.

- The final stage or late stage of syphilis usually begins after about one year since first exposure to the syphilis bacteria. During this period, more complications develop. Joint pains become more painful and may result in arthritis. Other important body parts such as the heart, brain, liver, nerves, bones, eyes, and blood vessels can also be damaged. Health professionals say that between 25% and 40% of syphilis patients that do not get treatment can result in late stage syphilis.

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