Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Sexual Conditions Health Center

Font Size

Syphilis, Acquired

It is possible that the main title of the report Syphilis, Acquired is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Lues, Acquired
  • Venereal Disease

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Neurosyphilis

General Discussion

Syphilis is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacterium (microorganism) treponema pallidum. It is transmitted by direct contact with an infected lesion, usually through sexual intercourse. When untreated, syphilis progresses through primary, secondary and latent stages. The early stages of syphilis may not have any detectable symptoms. In some cases, symptoms can remain dormant for years. Eventually any tissue or vascular organ in the body may be affected.

Syphilis may also be acquired by the fetus in the uterus (congenital syphilis). Syphilis, especially when detected early, may be cured with appropriate treatment.


Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.
90 John St.
Suite 704
New York, NY 10038
Tel: (212)819-9770
Fax: (212)819-9776

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Tel: (404)639-3534
Tel: (800)232-4636
TDD: (888)232-6348

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Office of Communications and Government Relations
6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612
Bethesda, MD 20892-6612
Tel: (301)496-5717
Fax: (301)402-3573
Tel: (866)284-4107
TDD: (800)877-8339

World Health Organization (WHO)
Avenue Appia 20
Geneva 27, 1211
Tel: 41227912111
Fax: 41227913111

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 5/11/2009
Copyright 1991, 1998, 2000, 2006, 2009 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Sex Drive Killers 03
couple holding hands
Couple in bed
Condom Quiz

HIV Myth Facts
STD Overview
Man tearing a condom packet
things your guy wish you knew slideshow

Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Girls Puberty 10
Couple in bed
Young couple holding hands