What is syphilis?
A syphilis is a bacterial infection (Treponema pallidum) that spreads most commonly through sexual contact. Infection usually causes illness over the years. We early stages, syphilis causes diseases of the genitals, mucous membranes and the skin. If left untreated, syphilis can lead to serious problems such as heart problems, neurological problems (neurosyphilis), blindness, dementia, and death.
Since 1996, syphilis rates have been increasing in the United States, especially among men who have sex with men.
Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with an injury or wound caused by syphilis, usually during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Pregnant women can pass on to their babies. Syphilis can not be spread by toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing or eating utensils.
While the health problems caused by syphilis in adults and newborns are serious in itself, genital sores caused by syphilis in adults also make it easier transmission or acquisition of HIV infection through sexual contact.
Studies suggest that people with HIV who become infected with syphilis may be more likely to develop injuries and may have a more rapid development of diseases syphilis. A person with HIV can also temporarily view the CD4 cells fall and HIV levels are increased during the early stages of syphilis, but then improve after being treated.