What is it?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. It’s a bacterial infection that spreads by having unprotected sex or through using unclean needles or an unscreened blood transfusion. Syphilis is diagnosed with a blood test.

The infection starts as a painless sore on the genitals, rectum or mouth. It can then develop into a rash or more serious symptoms. Syphilis is treated with antibiotics, and it’s important to get treated as soon as possible. You will also need to tell your past sexual partners so they can be treated.

What will my GP do now?

Your GP will give you information about:

  • Your treatment and testing for other sexually transmitted infections
  • Starting the contact tracing process
  • Safe-sex strategies, prevention and birth control
  • Related issues like pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Resources and support
  • If a referral for a counsellor or specialist if necessary

Your may need a referral to a sexual health specialist if:

  • You are allergic to penicillin
  • You are pregnant
  • Your case is complex
  • You have another infection, such as HIV

What will my GP do in the future?

Your GP may see you again in three, six and 12 months for further tests to ensure the infection is gone. If you are pregnant, re-testing is needed five weeks after your treatment has finished.

What can I do?

It’s important you follow your treatment instructions carefully. Besides getting healthy, you need to make sure everyone you’ve had sex with recently knows to get tested too to stop them spreading the infection to others.