Syphilis – Quick Facts
- Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum.
- Syphilis is curable with antibiotic treatment.
- Syphilis is spread through sex: vaginal, anal, and oral.
- Syphilis is a “skin-to-skin” disease. It can be transmitted when a sore or other syphilis lesion of a sex partner rubs against a tiny cut or opening in the skin.
- Syphilis makes it much easier to get and give HIV.
- Many people don’t notice syphilis symptoms or know they have syphilis.
- The initial sore caused by syphilis is painless, and if the sore is inside the body (inside the penis, rectum, vagina, or mouth) it can’t be seen.
- People with HIV and syphilis may be at higher risk for neurosyphilis (syphilis of the brain and spinal cord).
- During pregnancy syphilis can be passed from mother to infant in utero through the placenta.
- Syphilis can cause damaging complications or kill babies if it is transmitted to them.
- Untreated syphilis can cause serious or fatal damage to the brain and heart, can paralyze, and can seriously damage the bones, nerves, liver, blood vessels, eyes, and joints, and other internal organs of an infected person.
Updated on: April 15, 2019