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What is Syphilis?
Syphilis is a serious bacterial infection that can be detected with an RPR Syphilis lab test. It is usually passed from one person to another by sexual contact. If it is not treated, Syphilis can lead to permanent brain, nerve, and tissue damage.
How Does Syphilis Occur?
The bacteria that cause Syphilis enter the body through an opening such as the vagina, mouth, or rectum. They can also enter through a cut or break in the skin.During the early stages of Syphilis, sores form on the body, usually near the genitals. If you touch a sore on an infected person, some of the bacteria will probably rub off onto your body. If the bacteria then get near any moist area of your body (such as the vagina, mouth, or rectum) or on any cuts or breaks in your skin, you may get Syphilis. Once inside the body, the bacteria spread quickly through the bloodstream and may require an RPR Syphilis lab test for confirmation of infection.Sometimes a baby is born with Syphilis if the mother has the disease during pregnancy.
What are the Symptoms of Syphilis?
The symptoms of Syphilis vary according to the stage of the disease. During the first stage, smooth, red, painless sores called chancres appear. People usually get chancres near the genitals, but they can form anywhere on the body. Women may not know they have a chancre if it is inside the vagina. Chancres on the penis can usually be seen. These painless sores may appear 10 days to 3 months after contact with an infected person. The sores last 3 to 6 weeks.If you are infected with Syphilis and you do not get treatment after a confirmation RPR Syphilis lab test, the disease will develop into the second stage. This second stage is called secondary Syphilis. It begins 6 to 12 weeks after contact with an infected person and may last for weeks to as long as a year. Symptoms during the second stage of Syphilis can include:
- A pink or red, bumpy, scaling skin rash that does not itch and may come and go (you can easily infect other people with this rash, which may include spots on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet)
- Brown sores about the size of a penny
- Swollen lymph nodes ("glands")
- Flu symptoms such as fever, body aches, sore throat, headaches, tiredness, and loss of appetite
- Hair loss in clumps causing patchy baldness
- Gray or pink patches of fatty tissue in damp areas of the body (also highly infectious)
- Wart-like growths in the anal area
The rash in the second stage usually heals within several weeks or months. Often the second stage of Syphilis is followed by a latent period. During latent Syphilis you have no symptoms even though you have not been treated for the disease. This latent period may last a few years or it may last a lifetime. During latent Syphilis, you can still receive accurate RPR Syphilis lab test results.One in three people who have latent Syphilis develop the third stage of Syphilis. This third stage is called tertiary Syphilis and starts anywhere from 2 to 30 or more years after the second stage. During this stage, the disease can affect the brain, the aorta (the blood vessel that leads from the heart), and the heart. This can lead to severe heart disease, brain damage, paralysis, and death.
How is Syphilis Diagnosed?
Your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and examine you. Your provider will look for chancres on your skin and in your vagina, cervix, and anal area. If you have sores, scrapings from the sores will be examined under a microscope to look for bacteria. Your provider may also require a Blood Serological Tests for Syphilis to confirm the diagnosis.
What is Syphilis?
Syphilis is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted through sexual contact. Three stages of this infection are recognized: primary, secondary, and tertiary syphilis. The first stage may not produce symptoms at all, so it can be easily missed. However, if left untreated, it can spread to the nerves, brain, and heart.
When is it important to have Syphilis testing?
It is important to get tested for syphilis if:
- You have had unprotected sex with someone whose diagnosis is unknown
- You have a sexual partner that has been exposed
You should also get tested if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sore throat or mouth pain
- Patchy hair loss
- Swelling of lymph nodes near the groin or underarms
Also, you may benefit from annual screening if you have any of the following factors:
- Have a history of incarceration
- Being a male and under age 29
- Involved in commercial sex work
- Live in an area with high syphilis infection rates
- Being Black or African American
What is the window period for Syphilis testing?
The window period for syphilis testing is the time between the last syphilis exposure and when your body develops enough antibodies to be picked up on a test. It’s usually around 3 to 6 weeks or longer (in rare cases).
For how long can Syphilis testing be positive after being diagnosed?
Syphilis testing can be positive for several months after the person is diagnosed with syphilis. The time a person can have syphilis after treatment is highly variable as it depends on the stage of diagnosis, duration of its symptoms, and evolution.
Do I need to visit a doctor?
Nope. You don't need a doctor's visit to get a test with us.
How do I get my results?
You'll get your results via email as soon as they are available. We will notify you via SMS as well. You can also see them at any time in the future right in your dashboard where you can easily share them with your professional and compare them side by side with future tests.
Does my lab prescription expire?
We're the only lab that honors your lab order forever.