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Safe Sex Information: Syphilis

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It is a known fact worldwide that the number of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) has been on the rise. Each year, approximately 15.3 million get infected with STDs. This only makes it truly important for teenagers and adults to protect themselves when engaging in sex and to be more fully aware of these various diseases including its causes and symptoms.

Today, there are 25 known STDs that people commonly acquire most of them through sexual contact. Some of them may show symptoms but the others have no symptoms at all making it difficult to detect whether already has it or not. Again, it is vital that people get educated about these diseases so as not to risk their health and that of their loved ones.

Transmission

Syphilis is among the most common sexually transmitted diseases. It is caused by a tiny bacteria that is capable of living in any part of the human body. This can spread through various ways such as sexual contact through the vagina, anus or the mouth and during pregnancy from the mother to her baby. During sexual contact, penetration is not even required to pass this disease.

Stages and symptoms

Syphilis involves four stages – the primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. As the disease advances, more harm is being done to the human body.

In the primary stage, the most common symptom is the appearance of chancre sores which are actually painless. These sores show in the mouth, throat, anus and genital areas.

During the secondary stage, rashes coupled with brown sores appear. A person also experiences fever and body aches just like the flu symptoms.

In the latent stage, an infected person may not show any symptoms at all such as for several years although the disease remains in his or her system.

The tertiary stage is the terminal period. If syphilis remains untreated during this time, many of the body’s vital organs are already severely affected. The disease can affect the brain, heart leading to heart disease, eyes leading to blindness, spinal cord, bones, joints, nervous system among many other body parts.

Effects and cure

Apart from the physical effects, syphilis can also cause psychological problems. In worst cases, it can even lead to an infected person’s death. It is also hard to detect this disease in its initial stage as it shows symptoms that are very similar to other less serious illnesses.

Did you know that syphilis can live in a person’s body for up to 20 years? Yes, that long and even without the infected person knowing it in its first few years.

The good news, though, is that it is curable. Antibiotics notably penicillin are usually injected to the person. These are prescribed after the necessary blood tests conducted by a doctor confirm the presence of syphilis. A careful study of the sores is also vital in making a diagnosis.

Prevention is always better than cure. For this reason, teenagers and adults need to be careful in selecting their sexual partners and to always have condoms on hand when engaging in sex. Condoms are, by far, the most effective method in averting the spread of STDs.

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