Syphilis is spread by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has a syphilis chancre (sore). You can also catch (or spread) it by kissing someone who has a chancre. You can’t get or spread it by sharing a toilet or swimming pool with an infected person. Nor can you get it by touching items an infected person touched.
The bacteria that causes syphilis enters the body through in your skin or through your mucus membranes.
The best way to avoid getting syphilis is to not have sex. If you do have sex, it's important to use condoms and to limit the number of partners you have.
If you think you were exposed to syphilis, your partner or partners should also be tested and treated to help prevent spreading it.