Syphilis is a serious bacterial STI. It can cause major health problems throughout your body if left untreated.

How is syphilis spread?

  • Syphilis is transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner.
  • It can also be passed through skin to skin contact with a syphilis chancre sore
  • An infected mother can pass it on to her baby during pregnancy.

A few years ago, Syphilis was fairly uncommon in Canada. Unfortunately, syphilis is becoming more common in Canada, with statistics rising every year.

How can you prevent syphilis?

To reduce your risk of syphilis:

  • Use condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
  • Use condoms and oral dams during oral sex.
  • Get tested regularly (It’s free and confidential)
  • Talk about past sexual partners with your current partner(s).

What are the symptoms of Syphilis?

Symptoms vary greatly throughout the stages of syphilis; some people have no symptoms at all but are still infectious.

  • Some develop a painless sore (a “chancre”) on the genitals, anus or inside the mouth.
  • Some develop flu-like symptoms and/or a rash, both of which go away, despite the infection remaining.
  • Late stages of untreated syphilis can cause major damage throughout the body.

What are the risks of untreated syphilis?

The late stages of untreated syphilis can cause major damage to many parts of the body including the cardiovascular system, the brain and nervous system, and other organs such as eyes and ears. This damage can result in serious illnesses, mental health problems and even death.

How does a person get tested for Syphilis?

Syphilis is usually tested through a blood test. Sometimes when there is an obvious sore it can be swabbed and sent to the lab for testing.

Testing is free with your care card and private and confidential

Syphilis treatment

  • Syphilis can be treated and cured with medications at no cost in the early stages.
  • Damage caused to body systems in the later stages cannot be reversed.
  • All recent sex partners (previous 60 days ) need to be treated