• Syphilis is caused by bacteria called Treponema pallidum.
  • Syphilis can be passed from one person to another during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
  • If you are pregnant and have syphilis, you can give it to your baby.
  • Early symptoms can include a sore in the genital area, around the anus, or in or around the mouth.
  • As syphilis progresses, you can get swollen lymph nodes, rash, and/or fever.
  • Syphilis can cause eye infection with pain, light sensitivity, flashes, floaters, and/or redness. This can lead to vision loss and even blindness.
  • Syphilis can cause ringing in the ears, hearing loss, or headaches with neck pain.
  • After years of infection, syphilis can cause stroke, nerve damage, memory loss, or even damage to your heart and blood vessels.
  • Syphilis can cause stillbirth or serious health problems in your baby. 
  • Syphilis tests are usually done on blood.
  • Sexually active people living with HIV should be tested at least once a year.
  • Sexually active men and transwomen who have male partners should be tested at least once a year and should consider testing up to every 3 months.
  • If you are diagnosed with gonorrhea or chlamydia, you should be tested for syphilis.
  • If you are exposed to a partner with syphilis, you should be seen by a health care provider.
  • If you are pregnant, you should be tested as early as possible in your pregnancy and retested in the third trimester.
  • Syphilis is usually treated with an antibiotic injection.
  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about notifying partners and when you can have sex again.
  • Discuss timing of follow-up testing with your health care provider.
  • If you are diagnosed with syphilis, you should consider using HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).