Features/ Symptoms

Primary Syphilis

  • Lesions that form around genital area
  • Lesion has a raised, firm red border
  • Lesions have generally a dark pink color
  • Swollen glands
  • Although lesions generally heal on its own, without treatment the disease will progress
  • Secondary Syphilis
  • Once the primary lesion have healed, new symptoms will affect the client
  • Secondary lesions normally form on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
  • Can also form in other areas
  • Other symptoms include a sore throat, low-grade fever, headache and a rash
  • Rash does not itch and is not uncomfortable
  • Disease progress if left untreated

Latent Syphilis

  • About 25% of clients may experience a return of some of the secondary symptoms
  • In most cases, the latent stage is asymptomatic
  • Latent syphilis may stay with clients for life or late syphilis may appear

Late Syphilis

  • Late syphilis may emerge in any area of the body as late as 30 to 50 years
  • Late syphilis may take the forms of late benign syphilis, cardiovascular syphilis and neurosyphilitic disease


  • Primary Stage: 1-3 months
  • Secondary Stage: 3-6 months
  • Latent Stage: 6 months – 2 years


Syphilis is a disease caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. The bacteria penetrate chafed skin or the mucous membranes. Men are more vulnerable to contracting syphilis than women. Without treatment, syphilis can cause irreversible damage to the brain, nerves, and body tissues. Treatment/ Management Syphilis is can be cured in its early stages. A single intramuscular injection of penicillin, an antibiotic, will cure a person who has had syphilis for less than a year. Additional doses are needed to treat someone who has had syphilis for longer than a year. For people who are allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics are available to treat syphilis. There are no home remedies or over-the-counter drugs that will cure syphilis. Treatment will kill the syphilis bacterium and prevent further damage, but it will not repair damage already done.