Syphilis is a highly contagious disease that is spread primarily through sexual contact. If untreated, it can lead to heart disease, brain damage, and blindness. Syphilis -- which has made a comeback in the U.S., especially among men who have sex with men -- is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, which enters the body through membranes around the rectum, in the mouth, and genitals. Early symptoms include chancre sores and rash around the rectum, genitals, and mouth. If untreated, the infection will begin to damage the organs. A woman infected with syphilis may pass it along to her newborn. Antibiotic treatment can cure syphilis, but cannot reverse late-stage damage from the disease. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about how syphilis is contracted, its symptoms, treatment, and much more.
Syphilis is a highly contagious disease spread primarily by sexual activity. Learn more about syphilis from the experts at WebMD.
What Are the Symptoms of Syphilis?
The symptoms of syphilis may be visible or invisible, but they’re serious if left untreated. Learn how to recognize some of the symptoms and how they can progress if untreated.
Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)
WebMD lists common symptoms associated with sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs.
Syphilis and Men Who Have Sex With Men
Learn more from WebMD about syphilis, a potentially dangerous sexually transmitted infection, and infection trends among men who have sex with other men.
Oral Sex: Safety, Risks, Relationships, STD Transmission
WebMD discusses the health risks of oral sex, how to protect yourself, and more.
Condoms: A Virtual Orgy of Sizes, Shapes, and Tastes
Condoms: An overview of sizes, shapes, textures, tastes, and effectiveness; and 10 tips for getting the best protection from them.