Cases of Syphilis have recently been seen in the South West in men who have sex with men. 

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that's usually caught by having sex with someone who's infected. It's important to get tested and treated as soon as possible if you think you might have syphilis, as It can cause serious problems if it's left untreated so it is important to get tested and treated as soon as possible. You can catch syphilis more than once, even if you've been treated for it before.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms for Syphilis can vary and some people may not have any obvious symptoms at all. Even if you don't have any symptoms or your symptoms disappear over time you will remain infected until you get treatment.

  • small sores or ulcers that usually appear on the penis or around the anus but can occur in other places, like the mouth
  • a red rash on the bottom of your feet or on the palms of your hands
  • small skin growths that may develop around the anus
  • White patches in your mouth
  • flu like symptoms (tiredness, headaches, joint pain, fever and swollen glands)

How is it passed on?

Syphilis is mainly spread through close contact with an infected sore.

This usually happens during intercourse or oral sex, or by sharing sex toys with someone who's infected.

Anyone who's sexually active is potentially at risk.

Sharing needles.

Syphilis can't be spread by using the same toilet, clothing, cutlery or bathroom as an infected person.

How do I protect myself?

Use condoms and dams for intercourse and oral sex

Don't share sex toys.

Don't share needles

How is it treated?

An injection of antibiotics into your buttocks. Typically only one dose is required but f you have had Syphilis for a long time you might need 2 or 3 extra injections at weekly intervals.

If you are unable to have the injection then a 2 - 4 week course of antibiotics tablets, depending on how long you've had syphilis.

You should avoid any kind of sexual activity or close sexual contact with another person until at least two weeks after your treatment finishes.

You can catch syphilis more than once, even if you've been treated for it before. 

Links for more information:

NHS Choices - Syphilis