Syphilis is known as the “great imitator” among sexually-transmitted diseases and infections because it has the same symptoms as many other more common infections, and the symptoms will go away on their own while the disease remains with you and continues to cause damage.
Primary Stage Syphilis Symptoms
Syphilis isn’t the first infection that comes to mind when you experience flu-like symptoms, but these are common primary stage indications that you have syphilis. A more obvious indication might be a painless sore or ulcer that appears on your genitals, in your vagina or around your mouth, lips or breasts. You might see one of these sores about three weeks after you become infected with syphilis, but many people never experience the sores at all.
Secondary Stage Syphilis Symptoms
If you leave syphilis untreated after its primary stage, you might experience other symptoms for the next year or two. These symptoms include body rashes on the palms of your hands, soles of your feet or other parts of your body. They might last anywhere from two to six weeks. You might run a mild fever, have a sore throat, a headache, muscle aches and fatigue — symptoms of any number of other ailments that probably come to mind first.
Late Stage Syphilis
Syphilis is easy to cure when detected early. However, if syphilis remains untreated after its secondary stage, it could cause serious damage to your nervous system, brain, heart and other organs. Syphilis can kill you.
High Risk Groups
If you experience any sores or ulcers around your genital areas, you should have a test to see if syphilis is the cause. If you’re a man who has sex with other men, you should get a syphilis test at least once a year if you’re sexually active, and every three to six months if you have anonymous sex or more than one sexual partner. There is an increased risk of contracting HIV with syphilis, so protect yourself and get tested.
Get An Anonymous Syphilis Test
Follow our free guide and get an anonymous syphilis test and get treatment if you test positive for the disease. Don’t let embarrassment or the threat of being reported to the state health department prevent you from finding out whether you have the disease and getting treatment as soon as possible.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on syphilis treatment and care.