Syphilis Overview


Syphilis is an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) that is caused by bacteria known as Treponema Pallidum. These bacteria can gain entry into your body when you are in close intimate contact with someone who has a syphilitic sore, (known as a chancre), normally in the course of vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Syphilis can also be transmitted by sharing sex toys with a person who has the infection. You can get checked out for syphilis here at Broadgate GP sexual health clinic London

The growing threat of syphilis

Although far from rare, Syphilis is not as prevalent as some other SDs such as Chlamydia, Genital Herpes, Genital Warts / HPV, or Gonorrhoea. Here in the UK a total of 2,978 new cases of Syphilis were diagnosed in 2012; 2,713 were men, and 265 were women. Over the past 3 years the incidence rate in men is increasing year on year, whereas with women, the incidence rate is decreasing year on year. In the past 10 years the incidence rate of Syphilis has increased by 600%.

Syphilis is not something to be trifled with

The consequences of contracting Syphilis can be very serious if it is not treated in its early stages. If allowed to run its full course, Syphilis can in time affect any part of the body, including the brain, the central nervous system – this is known as neurosyphilis), and the cardiovascular system. It can also cause babies to be stillborn, or to die shortly after birth. Pregnant women can also pass syphilis on to their unborn babies. This is known as congenital syphilis.

The Stages and Symptoms of Syphilis

The first symptoms of syphilis normally begin to appear within 21 days of becoming infected. In can however take up to 90 days to begin to present. If left untreated Syphilis will develop in 4 different stages; primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. Read more about the stages and symptoms of syphilis.

The diagnosis of syphilis

Getting an early diagnosis is very important; not only from the point of view of accessing treatment, and a cure, before it develops any complications, or before it progresses into its tertiary phase; but also in order to prevent the infection from spreading any further. Any STD clinic here in London (and indeed anywhere across the country) can perform the test, which, if you have any weeping sores, can be carried out by taking a sample of the fluid with a simple swab test, or if the sores and chancres have abated, a blood test can be carried out.

The convenience of Broadgate’s walk in STD clinic London

For people living and working in London, Broadgate Clinic London Wall offers one of the best and most convenient walk-in sexual health screening services London has to offer.

Treatment for syphilis

Because syphilis is a bacterial infection, it can be effectively treated during its primary and secondary phases with a course of antibiotics, and the most usual treatment is a single injection of penicillin (the one most often used here in the UK is Benzylpenicillin). If the infection has progressed beyond the secondary stage, a course of 3 injections (1 per week) may be necessitated. The injection is given intramuscularly, usually into the buttock.

What to do next

If caught in the early stages, the infection should be cured in a matter of days once the injection(s) have been administered. However, it is recommended that you should refrain from any further sexual activities until you have been retested for syphilis at Broadgate Clinic London Wall, or one of the other clinics across the UK, and have been given the all clear. The clinic you attend will also discuss informing any of your sexual partners and suggesting that they themselves are tested, and if necessary, treated.

If you would like more information about our sexual health clinic, don’t hesitate to contact us today on 020 7638 4330.

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