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Syphilis
What is it?

Syphilis is a bacterial STD acquired through vaginal, oral or anal sex with an infected person. Syphilis can NOT be contracted by other means, such as by touching toilet seats, doorknobs or swimming in pools with someone who is infected.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include open sores, a rash, fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue. After about a month, the sore and rash disappear, which may fool you into thinking you're cured; but you can still have Syphilis for years without having more symptoms.

What are the effects?

If left untreated, syphilis can eventually cause damage to the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. In extreme cases it can cause difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, mental illness, and even death. If you have syphilis and are pregnant, it can cause serious birth defects and stillbirth.

Is there a cure?

Syphilis is cured with a specific type of antibiotic. But immediate diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid the harm that can occur if the syphilis bacteria is allowed to remain in your body for a long time. The longer you have syphilis, the more difficult it is to treat, and the more irreparable damage it can do.

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Idaho Department of Health and Welfare