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Sexual Health Clinic



Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI.) Sexually transmitted infections are bacteria (germs) that can be passed from one person to another during sex or intimate contact (foreplay.)

Syphilis affects both men and women.


Syphilis affects men and women in the same way.

The symptoms can be easily missed, so many people with syphilis do not realise they are infected.

Syphilis has three stages. Each stage has different symptoms.

It is possible to pass the infection on to somebody else at any stage of your illness. For more information on this please click here.

Getting tested & treatment

A sexual health doctor or nurse will examine your genitals.

If you have sores, the doctor or nurse will need to take a swab. This simply involves wiping the sore with a cotton bud. The cotton bud is then sent to the laboratory to look for syphilis bacteria.

The doctor or nurse will then need to take a small sample of blood from you to be tested

Treatment for syphilis kills the bacteria that cause the illness – it will not reverse any damage that the syphilis has already done to your body.

This is why it is so important that you get tested and treated early. The earlier you are treated, the less likely you are to suffer any long-term damage.

Some people are given treatment before the results of their tests are back.

Syphilis is treated with antibiotics. These drugs may be given as tablets or as injections. Some people only need to take the drugs once, others need several doses. Your doctor at the sexual health clinic will tell you what you will need.

You may need to have regular blood tests after your treatment

For more information on syphilis and testing, please see this page.