Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that affects all genders. Syphilis is a bacterial infection, that is curable with antibiotics. It spreads through sexual skin/skin contact with infected skin,  via oral, vaginal or anal sex. Syphilis is divided into three stages.


Stage 1: The symptoms will go away, whether or not you receive treatment. Without the right treatment, the infection will move to the second stage of syphilis.

  • The first symptom is a small, pain-free sore. Oftentimes, it may look like an ingrown hair or small sore. It can be on the vagina, penis, anus, rectum, lips or mouth. The sore, if untreated will go away.

Stage 2: The symptoms from this stage will go away whether or not you receive treatment. Without the right treatment, the infection will move to the latent and possibly late stages of syphilis.

  • A pain-free rash on the palms of hands, back or soles of feet. Other symptoms you may have can include
  • fever
  • swollen lymph glands
  • sore throat
  • patchy hair loss
  • headaches
  • weight loss,
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue (feeling very tired).

The late stage of syphilis is when all other symptoms have disappeared, the bacteria is still in your body. It may take 3-10 years for latent syphilis to appear.

  • It can cause blindness
  • Affect muscle movement
  • Affect internal organs
  • Cause death.

What Are The Health Problems Associated With Syphilis?

  • If left untreated, syphilis can cause lasting permanent injury.
  • Latent, the third stage of syphilis, may cause permanent blindness, injury to internal organs, brain damage or death.
  • Syphilis can be passed from mother to infant.
  • Because a syphilis sore may be hard to see, a person may not know they have the infection, and can easily pass it to others.

Confidential Testing

Get Syphilis testing information at any WHS clinic. We test people of all genders.


If you are diagnosed as having syphilis, your sexual partners(s) should be treated as well. You are at risk to be re-infected without treating sexual partners or using condoms.

Syphilis is treated with antibiotics prescribed by your provider.

Test Your Knowledge

1. True or False: A person of any gender can give syphilis to a person of any gender.

2. True or False: Condoms are a good way to prevent the transmission of Syphilis.

3. True or False: If you're have anal, vaginal or oral sex, the only way to know if you've been exposed is to get tested.

5. True or False: Most people will have a sexually transmitted infection during the course of their lifetime.

All True!