Syphillis is a bacterial infection caused by Treponema pallidiu. One of the most serious of all STIs, syphillis causes permanent damage it it's not diagnosed and treated early. About 40,000 persons each year in the U.S., contract primary and secondary syphillis. Recent syphillis outbreaks have been linked with the exchange of sex for drugs, especially crack cocaine. Syphillis is now at its highest level in the past 40 years. Because of the link between syphillis and HIV infection, you should have an HIV test if you have syphillis.

Symptoms: vary according to stage of disease:
Primary: a painless sore (chancre)
Secondary: skin rash, lymph node enlargement
Latent: no symptoms, may last for several years

Treatment: antibiotics such as penicillin, doxycycline

If Untreated: tertiary syphilis: more serious problems such as neurological problems, dementia, blindness, heart disease, aneurysms, and brain damage develop.

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