Caused by the bacterium called treponema pallidum, syphilis is one of the most common sexually-transmitted diseases nowadays. It is an infection that causes a lot of severe complications if left undiagnosed and untreated.
How is syphilis transmitted?
There are numerous ways to transmit syphilis. The bacterium can be passed on from one person to another through the following methods:
Transfusion of syphilis-infected blood
Direct contact with a sore caused by syphilis on an infected person
A pregnant mother infected with syphilis can pass the infection on to her baby
Having sex with a syphilis-infected person
It is best to avoid any of the activities listed above so as to minimize your risk of getting syphilis.
Furthermore, there are certain groups of people that are at higher risk of getting the syphilis bacteria compared to the rest. For example, those that are sexually active are more likely to contract syphilis than those that are abstaining from sex. Also, those that have multiple sexual partners have higher chances of being infected with syphilis compared to those that are faithful and loyal to just one. Working in the medical environment where there are syphilis patients may also put you at higher risk of contracting the bacteria.
What are the symptoms of syphilis?
The first syphilis symptom that one gets after being exposed to the bacterium is known as chancre. It is a small, round ulcer that appears on the part of the body where the bacterium has entered.
Also, syphilis patients will experience fever and suffer from the enlargement of the lymph nodes. Rashes, soreness, fatigue, discomfort, and muscle and joint pains are also very common to syphilis patients.
After some time, more chancres will appear on other parts of the body. This is a sign that the syphilis has progressed to the later stages of the diseases and it needs to be treated immediately.
How is syphilis treated?
The best way to treat syphilis is by antibiotics. Penicillin is one of the most common antibiotics prescribed to syphilis patients. However, if you are allergic to penicillin, there are other antibiotics that you can use for your syphilis treatment.
Doctors also prescribe azithromycin, ceftriaxone, tetracycline, or doxycycline. These antibiotics destroy the syphilis bacteria that have spread all over the patient’s body. It may take several weeks to months before full recovery is achieved, so it is important to follow the medication religiously.