Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), is caused when an infection by a bacterium known as Traponema Pallidum is present in the body. Just like other STDs, syphilis can be spread by any type of sexual intercourse and it could also be contracted from an infected mother during pregnancy to the fetus in the womb or the baby at birth.
It is important to bear in mind that the term “congenital syphilis” can also cause death or abnormalities to the child which is the more reason a nursing mother should get tested at the very instant she discovers she is pregnant. The early signs of syphilis are a small, painless sore which appears on the sexual organs, or inside the mouth.
This sore is called a chancre. It is not easily noticed at first, thereby, making it more difficult to diagnose except a test is carried out because someone can have syphilis without knowing they have such disease, thinking it’s just a blister.
The High Risk of Contracting Syphilis
One stands at a very high risk of contracting syphilis if the following activities are engaged in.
- Unprotected sex with an infected person
- Sexual intercourse with more than one partner
- Being infected with the HIV virus
- Having unprotected sex with a man who has sex with other men
The consequences of not curing Syphilis
There are a quite handful of problems associated with syphilis if it is not treated on time. Some of these are explained below.
If syphilis goes untreated, it could occasion damage to the nervous system, specifically to the brain and the spinal cord and then lead to bladder incontinences, sexual dysfunction in men, stroke, a sudden loss of hearing, visual impediment, dementia, meningitis, and many more.
The implication of not treating syphilis infection timeously could cause problems in the heart like damage of heart vessels, inflammation of aorta, inflammation of blood vessels, inflammation of the body’s major artery, etc.
Persons with sexually transmitted syphilis or other genital ulcers have an increased risk of contracting HIV, because a syphilis sore can bleed easily, thereby, making it easy for HIV to enter the bloodstream during sexual activity.
Pregnancy and childbirth complications
Congenital syphilis increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a newborn baby. Also, having syphilis can lead to the low birth weight of a baby. If not treated timely, the baby may develop certain problems such as cataract, deafness, or seizures within few weeks. To prevent this from happening, a pregnant woman should have herself tested for syphilis from the first month of her pregnancy in order to commence proper treatment.
How to Prevent Syphilis and never need a cure
The prevention of syphilis is not difficult, although, there is no medication that can be given for prevention, just some simple lifestyle changes could do a lot of good. They include, but are not limited to:
- Total abstinence from sex, or having sex with just one partner who is not infected.
- The use of a condom during sexual intercourse. Note that this would be effective only if the condom covers the area of the syphilis sore.
- Use of Dental Dam (a square piece of latex)
- Avoid sharing sex toys
- Get screamed for STI
- Avoid sharing needles, if using injected drugs
The status of ‘Cure’ on the subject of Syphilis
The answer to this question is a big YES! Syphilis is curable by administering a simple but adequate dose of penicillin (which is one of the most used antibiotics that is very effective in its treatment). Although there are certain people who are allergic to penicillin, such persons would likely be treated with other types of antibiotics such as doxycycline, azithromycin, ceftriaxone, etc.
In the case of neurosyphilis, the patient should get a daily dose of penicillin intravenously; in this case, the patient would have to be admitted to the hospital for a while until the treatment is completed.
Also, it is advisable and necessary to avoid all sexual activities during treatment until the sore is healed and the physician has confirmed total cure for syphilis. Persons with syphilis should notify their partner in order to have them tested and treated to prevent re-infection after treatment.
It should be noted that it is important to take the appropriate dose of penicillin, although, the dose of penicillin to be prescribed depends on the stage of the infection. Therefore, self-medicating is not advised, because it is better to consult a qualified physician and get tested. There should also be periodic blood tests carried out on patients after treatment, to ascertain the complete cure of syphilis.
Syphilis is curable with simple adherence to the solutions which have been proffered by medical sciences to relieve its patients over time.