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Syphilis and Men Who Have Sex With Men

Syphilis Prevention continued...

For persons whose sexual behaviors place them at risk for STDs, correct and consistent use of male latex condoms can help reduce the risk of syphilis transmission. However, genital ulcer diseases like syphilis are transmitted primarily through "skin-to-skin" or "surface-to-surface" contact from sores that may not be covered by condoms. Correct and consistent use of male latex condoms can reduce the risk of transmission only if infected areas or sites of potential infection are covered.

Condoms lubricated with spermicides containing Nonoxynol-9 or N-9 are no more effective than other lubricated condoms in protecting against the transmission of STDs. Based on findings from several research studies, N-9 may itself cause genital lesions, providing a point of entry for HIV and other STDs. The CDC recommends that N-9 not be used as a microbicide or lubricant during anal intercourse.

Washing the genitals, urinating, and/or douching after sex does not prevent STDs, including syphilis. Any unusual discharge, sore, or rash, particularly in the groin area, should be a signal to refrain from having sex and to see a doctor immediately.


More Syphilis Information

CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN) 
P.O. Box 6003
Rockville, MD 20849-6003
1-888-282-7681 Fax
1-800-243-7012 TTY

American Social Health Association (ASHA)

P. O. Box 13827
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-3827
STD questions:

American College Health Association
P.O. Box 28937
Baltimore, MD 21240-8937
(410) 859-1500


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on June 24, 2013

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