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How is syphilis spread?

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Syphilis spreads through direct contact with a syphilis sore (also called a chancre), usually during sex. Sores occur mainly on the genitals, in the vagina, on the anus, and in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to their babies. Syphilis cannot be spread through casual contact, such as with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bath tubs, shared clothing, or shared eating utensils.

SOURCE: Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Syphilis & MSM (Men Who Have Sex With Men) - CDC Fact Sheet."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on August 16, 2017

SOURCE: Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Syphilis & MSM (Men Who Have Sex With Men) - CDC Fact Sheet."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on August 16, 2017

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Is there a link between syphilis and HIV?

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