Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterium (Treponema pallidum). It is capable of affecting any organ of the body.


Depending on the primary route of transmission, syphilis is classified as -

  • Venereal syphilis - Transmitted due to sexual contact
  • Congenital syphilis- Transmitted from an infected mother to the unborn child

Usually an infected person develops the first symptom after 21 days of exposure to syphilis, but this duration can range from 10 to 90 days. Syphilis is marked by the appearance of skin rashes and/or sores (mucous membrane lesions) in the mouth, vagina, or anus. Without appropriate treatment, the infection progresses to the next stage of the disease, thus complicating the condition further.

Syphilis can be diagnosed with a VDRL test or dark ground microscopy test.

Early syphilis responds favorably to antibiotic treatment. But once tissue damage starts, the process may be halted but cannot be reverted.

Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner and using condoms can prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis.

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