Because syphilis is a newer infection and not as common as some of the other sexually transmitted diseases, it is steadily increasing especially among young adult males, according to many syphilis statistical reports. It is imperative that sexually active teens and adults realize how easy it is to spread syphilis. The best way to learn about preventing syphilis is to learn how to protect yourself against contracting and spreading this infection.
What is Syphilis?
- Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacteria called Treponema Pallidum. It is often referred to as the “great imitator” because so many of its signs and symptoms are like other diseases, which makes it difficult to distinguish.
Who has Syphilis?
- There has been a steady rise in the number of cases of syphilis since 2000 especially in men, according to syphilis statistics released by the Center for Disease Control.
- In 2009, men accounted for six times the number of infected persons with syphilis compared to women.
- Men account for 63 percent of the number of individuals infected with syphilis.
- The total number of men infected increased 4 percent from 2008 to 2009.
- The reason for men being more likely to contract the disease is because men who have sex with men (MSM) are at higher risk.
- Syphilis is a very localized disease predominately only affecting countries around and including the United States. In fact, 69.9 percent of countries reported no cases of the syphilis infection in 2009, according to syphilis statistics released by the Avert program.
- There are about 40,000 new cases of syphilis reported each year. This number continues to rise.
- Many syphilis statistics report that most of the syphilis infections are found within the 20 to 24 year old age group.
- Although sometimes symptoms never actually show, or take years to develop, traditional Syphilis symptoms are usually divided into three stages.
- Stage one: The infected person usually finds a sore around the genital area. This is where the syphilis entered the body. It can be small, round and firm and generally does not hurt. It may heal on its own after a few weeks, however, if you allow it to heal on its own, the syphilis infection will progress to the next stage.
- Stage two: A skin rash may develop across the body and might appear on the palms of the hands and bottoms of the feet.
- Latent symptoms: If syphilis is still not treated after the second stage, other symptoms will arise including fever, swollen glands, paralysis, gradual loss of eye sight and dementia. Sometimes the syphilis symptoms are bad enough to cause death.
- Syphilis is usually transferred from person to person when there is direct contact with a syphilis sore, which can be found on the mouth, genital region, anus and rectum.
- Syphilis can also be transferred from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy. This can be extremely harmful or deadly to the baby if not immediately treated.
- Syphilis cannot be transferred via inanimate objects like toilet seats and door handles because the bacteria cannot survive outside the body.
- Syphilis is easy to cure if caught early. An antibiotic penicillin treatment is used for persons who have only been infected with syphilis for less than a year. Additional treatment is required for those who have been infected longer than a year.
- Sexually active teens need to remember that just because an infected person may not show any symptoms they can still transfer syphilis.
- Teens who are having sex outside of a monogamous relationship with multiple partners, should remember that just because there are no visible symptoms, it does not mean their partner(s) is not infected.
- The only way a person can ever completely stay away from contracting syphilis or any other type of sexually transmitted disease is to completely abstain from sexual acts containing genital to genital or mouth to genital contact or any other kind of contact that might expose them to a syphilis sore.
- Using a latex condom might help reduce the risk of contracting syphilis, however, it does not protect the areas it does not cover like the mouth or around the genital or anus. Often times, the syphilis sore that is known for spreading the infection is not in area that can be protected by a condom.