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All About Syphilis: Get Educated before your Syphilis Test

by Marissa Lynch

Take charge of your sexual health with STDClinic’s discreet Syphilis test. Read on to learn more about Syphilis symptoms, testing, and treatment.

Syphilis Overview

Known as the ‘great pox,’ ‘button scurvy,’ and ‘frenga,’ Syphilis is an easily treatable STD that, left unnoticed, can cause some serious damage. It’s easy to get screened for Syphilis at

Freidrich Neitzsche and Arthur Schopenhaur, among of the world’s most famous philosophers, suffered from Syphilis. But what is the disease, really?

Syphilis is caused by the spirochete (spiral) bacteria treponema pallidum. The bacterial infection affects the genitalia, mouth, anus, or rectum. Sometimes, Syphilis is described as ‘the great imitator’ because most of its symptoms are hidden or resemble other common illnesses.

One unique sign of Syphilis is its round, painless, and firm sores, called ‘chancres’. The infection is not only an STD: healthy people can contract the infection if they’re in close contact with affected people’s infected lesions.

Syphilis, left untreated, can have some dire consequences. Without medical intervention, the infection could progress into blindness, paralysis, and more. Be sure to check up on your status with STDClinic’s online Syphilis (with confirmation) screenings


The ‘great pox’ typically causes chancres, or open sores specific to the syphilis infection, to form in hard-to-notice locations on the body of the infected person.

Syphilis progresses through four stages when left untreated. Each stage comes with different symptoms, and different ways of understanding what’s happening with your body

It’s important for you and your sexual partners to routinely check for STIs just to be safe.

Primary stage

In the primary stage, those infected with Syphilis will develop chancre-sores, usually inside or around genital regions. Chancres tend to appear on the site of infection, such as inside the gland of the penis, anus or vagina, cervix, and within the mouth-- all places you don’t typically see. This is the biggest reason why most people fail to notice syphilis right away.

Chancres go away naturally within six weeks. Whether or not the chancre disappears, affected persons are infectious to sexual partners at this stage of infections.

Secondary stage

The second stage of syphilis has several corresponding symptoms. These symptoms often disappear on their own, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the infection. Those in the secondary stage are infectious

The syphilis rash has characteristics unique to the infection. Recurring breakouts can appear anywhere on the body, though they tend to clear up within six weeks. The rashes can be smooth, rough, or moist, are often painless and not itchy. However, the syphilis rash is highly contagious: touching the syphilis rash is a common way to spread infection.

  • Rashes on the palms, neck, genitals, and mouth
  • High temperature
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Hair loss
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Intense pain in the head
  • Weariness
  • Discomfort in the throat
  • Muscle and joint pains

Latent Stage

This is a chronic stage that can stretch over three decades-- sometimes without exhibiting any symptoms. Even if the infected person feels fine, they can still spread the infection at this stage. Keep safe by continually checking on your sexual health status with STDClinic’s discreet online Syphilis (with confirmation) tests

Tertiary Stage

When left undiagnosed or unmedicated, syphilis progresses into the third stage some two to 30 years after initial exposure. This is where the effects become far more destructive than the other stages-- sometimes resulting in death

    • Abnormal sores present in and around the skin, bones, and liver
    • Recurrent strokes
    • Cardiovascular damages
    • Blindness and eye damage
    • Hallucinations and insanity
    • Paralysis
    • Burrowing pain in the bones
    • Numbness

Affected persons in this stage aren’t infectious

How do you contract Syphilis?

The spirochetes (spiral bacteria) that cause Syphilis are passed through direct contact of mucosal membranes, in activities such as kissing, nursing, sexual activity, and so forth. Primary and secondary syphilis can infect 30% to 60% of the persons exposed to it. Infected mothers can pass on syphilis to their babies.

Aroud 60% of persons infected with this venereal condition are men who have sex with other men. According to the CDC, 20% of the infected persons get it via oral sex alone.

When to Check

Anyone who suspects exposure, of any sort, should get tested. The CDC also recommends pregnant women get tested at prenatal visits as part of their pregnancy plan

Order a Syphilis (confirmation) test from for fast, easy results

NOTE: If you suspect you may have an STI, it is highly recommended that you stop having sex until you’ve recieved medical advice. Doing so ensures you and any potential partners lessen the risk of spreading disease.

Preparation for Testing

Getting checked for STI’s is simple, but there are a few things you can do to prepare. It’s always recommended to ask your health care provider if there are specific preparations to take before you get tested.

  • 1. Schedule

    Select and order your test online. You'll receive an order confirmation with all the information you need to take your blood test.

  • 2. Get Tested

    Go to the clinic nearest you and take your blood test. Be sure to bring the confirmation email with you to the clinic!

  • 3. Results

    Receive your results on

Know Your Treatments

  • Syphilis is easily treatable with antibiotics. When your diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor will prescribe the right course of medication for you. Speak to your doctor about your results. With your test results, you’re one step closer to making informed decisions about your sexual health.
  • To learn more, speak to your doctor to get personalized information about your diagnosis. With your test results, you’re one step closer to making informed decisions about your sexual health.
  • Be sure to retest one month after starting treatment to be sure you are free of the infection. You and your partner are recommended not to engage in sexual relations until you’ve finished your prescription.
  • Take control of your sexual health.
    Buy your Chlamydia test on STDClinic today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an STD?

An STD, or sexually transmitted disease, is an infection that is primarily transmitted through sexual fluids during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Sometimes, STDs are referred to as “venereal diseases.” Many STDs can be cured when they are properly diagnosed. Get tested for STDs at

How can I know if I have an STD?

Since some STDs are asymptomatic, the only way to really know if you have an STD is to get tested. Order your STD test online here.

How does work?

STDClinic makes it easy to get discreet, fast STD blood and urine test results. First, select and purchase the test you want. Then, download your proof of purchase form- also called a “requisition form”- and bring it to the clinic. Take your test at the clinic nearest you. Afterwards, see your results online.

Is Syphilis curable?

Syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages. Find the right treatment plan with your octor once you have a diagnosis

How is Syphilis tested?

You can get tested for syphilis with a simple blood test.

How does Syphilis spread?

You can contract syphilis by having direct contact with a syphilis sore, usually during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
See More FAQs

Medically reviewed by Zion Ben Refael, MD on April 1st, 2021.


  1. Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet

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