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Sexual Conditions Health Center

Syphilis - Exams and Tests

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Early detection

Screening for syphilis is strongly recommended for pregnant women and for people who are at increased risk for the infection.

People at high risk of contracting syphilis include those who:

  • Have unprotected sex (do not use condoms or do not use them correctly). This risk is especially high among men who have sex with men (MSM).5
  • Have multiple sex partners, particularly if they live in an area of the country where syphilis is more common.
  • Have a sex partner who has syphilis.
  • Have sex with a partner who has multiple sex partners.
  • Exchange money or drugs for sex (prostitution).
  • Have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force strongly recommend that pregnant women be screened for syphilis because of the severe consequences of being pregnant while infected or having a child born with congenital syphilis. Screening should be done:3, 4

  • At the first prenatal visit for all pregnant women.
  • During the third trimester and again at delivery for pregnant women who have an increased risk for syphilis.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 07, 2012
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.
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