Syphilis in the NPA

Syphilis is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) that has been spreading rampantly throughout the NPA. Some people refer to Syphilis as “The Pox”. It can be treated with medication. However, if left untreated it can cause damage to your organs such as the heart and brain. If you have been diagnosed with Syphilis, you should not have sex until treated and you have proof that you are no longer positive for syphilis. It is important to remember that the best protection from illness is by wearing a condom.

Syphilis Is Spread By:

Having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the infection. Syphilis is spread through close skin-to-skin contact with an infected area or a sore. Syphilis can also spread to un-born children if the mother is afflicted.

You Cannot Get Syphilis By:Sharing baths, toilets, towels or eating utensils.

1st Stage:

It can take 4 to 12 weeks after contracting syphilis for the first symptoms to show. These generally manifest themselves as painless sores (ulcers) on genitals or the mouth. These  sores can sometimes be missed due to the position of the sores as they can be hidden from view or in some cases the sores don’t appear at all. The sores will normally heals completely in 4 weeks .

2nd Stage:

This stage can take up to 24 months to occur and can include symptoms such as: hair loss, joint pain, flu like illness, swollen lymph nodes, or a rash  (flat red rash commonly on soles of feet or on palms of hands).

3rd Stage:

This stage can occur 5 to 20 years after being Infected.  This stage affects the organs, particularly the heart and the brain.

If you experience any of the symptoms, go see your doctor or sexual health workers as soon as possible. There is treatment available which will stop the illness from getting worse.

For more information please contact the sexual health education unit or go to :

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Syphilis

 

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