Who Is At Risk For Syphilis?
Although syphilis can be contracted by any sexually active individual, it is most commonly found among gay and bisexual men (men who have sex with men - MSM). Syphilis spreads through contact with an open infected sore and having intercourse with an individual with the infection gives you a 3-10% chance of becoming infected yourself. Sores are commonly found on the genitals (penis and vagina), on or in the anus and mouth.
Properly using a condom decreases your chances of getting infected with syphilis, however it is still possible for an open syphilis sore to come in contact with skin not protected by the condom. It is still possible to transmit syphilis with proper condom use.
Syphilis can be cured with treatment but failing to seek medical treatment can result in a number of health complications.
Complications Of Syphilis
Syphilis causes damage to internal organs during the latent and tertiary stages. Tertiary stage syphilis infections cause serious problems such as:
- Blood Vessel Irregularities
- Heart Irregularities
- Mental Disorders
- Loss Of Vision
- Bone Damage
- Liver Damage
- Nervous System Breakdown
- Sores in the body or on the skin (gummata)
Late stage syphilis, if left untreated can also result in death.
Pregnant mothers put their unborn children at risk for contracting syphilis. STD panels should be performed during the first, and possibly subsequently, prenatal visit(s).