Syphilis (Syphilis/Lues/TPHA) (Infectious diseases) STD
Syphilis or lues (formerly known as "French disease") is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. The disease occurs only in humans.
Worldwide, 10 to 12 million people contract the disease each year. The disease is very treatable with antibiotics especially in the early stages. The Syphilis/Lues/TPHA test is used to determine whether antibodies against the pathogen are present in the blood. If antibodies are detectable, this indicates infection with Syphilis.
The syphilis bacterium nests in or around the vagina, penis or anus and sometimes in or around the mouth. You get it through sex and oral sex. Without treatment, the bacteria spreads in the body through the blood. Your symptoms and a blood test will show the stage of the disease. This has implications for treatment, checkups, and partner warning. Without treatment, syphilis can have serious consequences.
The following symptoms may occur:
- Sores in or on the genitals, anus or mouth
- Patches of skin all over the body, especially on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Flu, headache, sore throat, fatigue
- Hair loss, bald patches on the scalp
- Eye complaints, eyeball inflammation, loss of vision
- After years: damage to the heart, brain, spinal cord and bones
Syphilis has several disease stages. Two to twelve weeks after infection with syphilis, sores develop. These are up to one centimeter in size, feel hard and usually do not hurt. If the sores are in your mouth, anus or vagina, you often don't notice them. Sometimes spots appear on the skin. Lymph nodes become swollen. Two to three weeks later, the sores and spots disappear. The disease is not gone. Without treatment, the bacteria spreads throughout the body via the blood weeks to months later.
syphilis bacteria are killed with an antibiotic. A doctor gives these injections. Aftercare varies from person to person, sometimes you have to come back for checkups for up to 2 years. During the treatment you should not have sex. Then you and your partner will infect each other again and again. In any case, use a condom.
Advice if the results are positive:
- See a doctor as soon as possible for treatment
- Also get tested for HIV and other STIs
- No sex during treatment
- Warn all sex partners since the infection
- Were there no clear complaints beforehand? In any case, have the permanent partner and any children examined.
The incubation period is 10 to 90 days, averaging 3 weeks before the onset of the first infection. The period between infection and the emergence of secondary syphilis is 6 weeks (4 to 8 weeks after primary lesion) to 6 to 12 months. The period for the emergence of tertiary syphilis is 2 to 30 years after infection.