Syphilis is a very old disease caused by a bacterium. Transmission is mainly during vaginal, anal or oral sexual contact. Syphilis has three stages:-primary, secondary and tertiary. The primary stage can be a little sore on the penis or lip or cervix; this may heal spontaneously after a few weeks. The illness then resurfaces under a year as the secondary stage with rash all over the body, sores in the mouth and other features. All these features can disappear spontaneously forever or the disease may reappear in about ten years as the tertiary stage with devastating effects on the heart, blood vessels, lungs, bones, brain, nerves, and skin.
You can save yourself from all these by avoiding the disease.
1. Be educated on Syphilis
Gather enough information on syphilis especially how it spreads, the symptoms and the preventive measures you can take.
2. See a doctor if you feel you may have the infection
You should see a doctor if you have a painless sore on your penis, lips, anus or vagina.
Also a generalized painless, non-itchy rash is suspect. The first group is primary syphilis while the second is secondary syphilis. Prompt treatment can prevent secondary or tertiary syphilis.
3. Limit number of sex partners
The easiest way to contract syphilis is to have multiple sexual partners; abstain from sex or limit your-self to one partner at a time.
4. Use a condom
If you must engage in casual sex or sex with a high risk partner such as a commercial sex worker, then you must use a condom.
5. Go for screening
If you are pregnant, go for screening for syphilis. If you have any other sexually transmitted disease, go for screening for syphilis. If you had sex with a syphilis patient, go for screening for syphilis.
6. Partner notification
Notify your sex partner if you have syphilis or any other sexually transmitted disease so that he or she can go for treatment.
7. Avoid sex with high risk group.
Avoiding sex with members of high risk groups is the beginning of wisdom. These groups include commercial sex workers, long distance lorry drivers, refugees, convicts, migratory labourers, professional blood donors and drug addicts. If it must happen then use a condom.
8. Personal Hygiene
Syphilis is caused by a bacterium called Treponema Pallidium. It is a delicate bacterium that cannot withstand heat, it is killed by disinfectants, soap/water and refrigeration beyond three days. However it can survive being frozen for several years.
Consequently, personal hygiene can help you avoid syphilis infection. If you come in contact with any one ill or after a visit to a hospital, wash your hands with soap and water, this action kills the agent which causes syphilis.