Syphilis is one of the more prevalent sexually-transmitted diseases today, along with herpes, Chlamydia, and gonorrhea. It is caused by a bacterium that is primarily transmitted from one person to another through sexual intercourse.
People should be aware of what syphilis can do so that they can realize why it is very important to stay away from this infection.
Once syphilis strikes a person, it may or may not trigger visible symptoms right away. As a result, many syphilis cases remain undiagnosed and untreated because some people do not realize early on that they have been infected.
Stages of infection
Syphilis has several stages. Here are overviews on each one of them:
- The first stage is called the primary stage, where a small sore or lesion called a chancre will pop up on the area where the syphilis bacterium entered. It will heal on its own, even without treatment, in a few weeks.
- The next stage is called the secondary stage, which takes place between one to six months after the onset of the primary stage. Its symptoms include a non-itchy rash that can appear on the hands and the feet. It may be accompanied by other minor symptoms such as a sore throat, weight loss, fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes.
- The next stage is called the latent period where no more symptoms appear and the other symptoms disappear.
- The final stage is called the tertiary stage and may occur anywhere between one and ten years since the primary stage happened. It is characterized by tumor-like inflammation balls known as gummas. It is very important to get diagnosed and treated for syphilis before this stage kicks in to avoid severe complications and death.