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What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). You should get tested as soon as possible if you think you may have syphilis, as it can lead to more serious complications if it isn’t treated.

It is especially important for a pregnant woman to be treated for syphilis as it can be very dangerous for her baby.  

It’s possible to be re-infected with syphilis even if you’ve been treated for it in the past.

What are the symptoms of syphilis?

The symptoms of syphilis can differ depending on how long you’ve had the infection.

Sometimes the symptoms can disappear altogether if you’ve had syphilis for a while, but you will still have the infection. And sometimes syphilis doesn’t show any symptoms, so if you have any reason to suspect that you may have this STI you should definitely get checked.

Symptoms can include:

  • Small, painless ulcers or sores around the vagina, penis or near the anus. They can also more rarely be found around the mouth.
  • A red rash on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.
  • Wart-like growths on the vulva or around the anus.
  • White patches in the mouth.
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • High temperature or fever
  • Swollen glands in the neck, armpits, or groin.

What causes syphilis?

Syphilis is a bacterial infection passed on by having sex with an infected partner. The bacteria that causes this infection is called Treponema pallidum.

It is passed on through sexual contact including vaginal, oral and anal sex. Syphilis can also be spread through an infected blood transfusion, but in the UK all blood donors are screened before their blood is used in a transfusion.

Syphilis can’t be spread from kissing, sharing cutlery, swimming pools or sharing towels.

How can you treat syphilis?

If you think you might have syphilis, you should first get tested. STD testing is easy to arrange and you can either go to your sexual health clinic or buy an STI home test kit online.

How to cure syphilis: a short course of antibiotics is usually the most effective syphilis treatment.

Penicillin is the most commonly used antibiotics for syphilis, although other antibiotics are also used as a syphilis cure.

What can you do to help prevent syphilis?

It’s not always possible to prevent syphilis, but you are more likely to avoid it if you practice safe sex. Make sure you always use a condom for vaginal and anal sex and you should also use a dental dam during oral sex.

Avoid sharing sex toys with anyone else. If you do, you should wash them after each use and cover them with a condom.


Frequently Asked Questions

How to treat syphilis?

It’s usually possible to cure syphilis with a course of antibiotics for STI.

How to treat syphilis at home?

If you have tested positive for syphilis it’s usually possible to treat it at home with a short course of antibiotics. You can buy antibiotics online with Instant eCare by filling out the short questionnaire. This is to check the medication is suitable for you. If it is, you will be issued with a free prescription and the medication will be sent to the address of your choice.

Can I buy antibiotics online UK?

You can buy antibiotics online with Instant eCare. Start by filling out the short questionnaire so our prescriber can check that the medication is suitable for you. Providing it is, you will be given a free prescription and the medication will be sent to your requested delivery address.

* Please note results, timeframe and individual responses to treatments may vary from person to person. If you do need medical advice you should always speak to a doctor, pharmacist or appropriate medical professional.