Sexually Transmitted Infections.
What is it?
The first signs of syphilis are often painless sores or rashes followed by flu-like symptoms. Left untreated, it can lead to heart disease or brain damage. You can get it through oral, vaginal or anal sex and through skin contact with any sores or rashes. It is more common in men who have sex with men.
What are the symptoms?
A painless sore lasting 2 or 3 weeks may appear in or near the genitals, mouth or anus within the first three months of infection. Up to 6 months after infection it’s likely that a rash on the body on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet will appear, together with flu like symptoms lasting for between 2 and 6 weeks. Sometimes these symptoms are not noticed.
What is it caused by?
Spirochete. (Small mobile organism)
How is it diagnosed?
From a blood test taken by your GP or Sexual Health clinic.
How is it treated?
By taking a longer course of antibiotic. Your partner should also be tested and treated.
What can happen if it’s not treated?
Without treatment the infection remains present in the body and can eventually cause permanent damage to the heart, brain and other organs. In pregnancy it can cause miscarriage or still birth or the baby can be born with syphilis.
You cannot tell by looking at someone if they have a sexually transmitted
infection, so if you are having sex (oral, anal or vaginal) the only way
to make sure you are not putting yourself at risk is to practise safer
- Always using condoms or femidoms (female condom inserted within the vagina) for vaginal sex.
- Always using condoms with water based lube for anal sex. Do not use condoms with spermicide if you are having anal sex.
- Always using flavoured condoms or dental dams (a latex shield that covers the mouth) when having oral sex.
- Trying non-penetrative sex like massage or mutual masturbation.
Condoms / Femidoms also protect you from other STIs including HIV. Always check the packaging for the British Standard kitemark or European product mark as well as the date of expiry.
Free condoms are available throughout Dumfries & Galloway.
See the clinic list
Testing and treatment is available from:
- General Practitioners
- Sexual Health D&G, Nithbank, Dumfries.
Daily drop-in Mon-Fri 9.00-10.30am
- Stranraer Community Hospital
Drop In Wednesdays 12.30 -1.30pm