Syphilis is a bacterial infection. It can cause serious problems if untreated. It’s important to get tested and treatment as soon as possible if you think you may be at risk.


The symptoms of syphilis are often mild and difficult to recognise. This means it can be passed on without knowing. Some people with syphilis have no symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Small, painless ulcers or sores on the penis, vagina, around the anus or mouth.
  • Red, blotchy rash typically on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
  • Small skin growths (similar to genital warts) on the vulva or anus.
  • White patches in the mouth.
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches.
  • Joint pains.
  • High temperature (fever).
  • Swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpits.


Syphilis is usually treated with a short course of antibiotics. You can catch syphilis more than once, even if you’ve been treated for it before.

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