ANH23265 02:24

MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Syphilis is a type of sexually transmitted disease or infection. It’s caused by tiny spiral or coiled bacteria called Treponema pallidum. The first symptom you may notice is one or more sores, called chancres*, that are usually painless and appear on the site where the bacteria entered your body. Without treatment, the disease can continue to progress through three more stages over a period of weeks, months, or years. It can result in serious health problems, such as brain damage, blindness, or even death. The good news is that syphilis can be treated and cured with different forms of an antibiotic called penicillin. Usually, one dose injected into your hip or buttock is enough to clear the infection. However, if it has spread to other parts of your body, such as your eyes, brain, or spinal cord, you may need more than one dose injected directly into your veins. People with serious infections, such as neurosyphilis, may need to be treated in the hospital. If penicillin can’t be used, other antibiotics such as doxycycline can be taken. Antibiotics work by killing the bacteria that cause syphilis. But it’s important to know that this treatment won’t fix any damage the disease has already done to your body. The most reliable way to avoid getting syphilis is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Or you can reduce your risk if you only have sex with one long-term partner who doesn’t have sex with other people and who has been tested for syphilis and doesn’t have it. And you can practice safer sex, which means taking steps before and during sex to prevent you from getting or spreading syphilis. For example, using condoms correctly every time you have sex can reduce your risk. But, if you come in contact with a sore on an area of your partner’s body not covered by the condom, you can still get syphilis. To find out more about the treatment and prevention of syphilis, talk to your healthcare practitioner. more