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Men's sexual health

CAUTION: Kissing and other ways you can still get syphilis from an infected partner




Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum.  It is a very common disease that affects both men and women. Symptoms could be mild or severe depending on the stage of the infection. When left untreated, syphilis could lead to serious health complications. Here are some facts about syphilis you should know:

  • There are four different stages of syphilis – primary, secondary, latent and tertiary
  • Signs and symptoms of each stage differs. At initial stage, symptoms are usually unnoticeable and almost usually ignored. As the infection progresses, symptoms become more noticeable and severe
  • It is contracted through having either vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone already infected. Pregnant women can also transmit the disease to their unborn child  which could lead to pre-term delivery, seizures, eye infections and deafness in the newborn. It could also lead to the death of the baby
  • It can also be transmitted through deep, prolonged kissing and sharing sex toys
  • It progresses from one stage to the other if not detected early and treated
  • Symptoms include: sore(s) on the initial site of infection (vagina, penis, rectum or mouth); skin rash; swollen nymph nodes; sore throat; weight loss; headaches and fever. At the last stage, which is the tertiary stage, more serious medical complications like brain and eye damage can arise including death
  • Condoms do not completely protect against syphilis. This is because sores can occur in areas not covered by a condom
  • Those infected with syphilis carry a greater risk of being infected with HIV because the sores caused by syphilis makes it easier for HIV to enter the body

Each year, the number of people infected with syphilis continues to rise; more prevalent is the occurrence of neonatal syphilis (babies being infected by their mothers). Just like all STDs, the only way to ensure not being infected with syphilis is to:

  • Abstain from sex
  • Use condoms each time during sexual activity, and
  • Be faithful to a single sexual partner

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Mofeyintioluwa is a health enthusiast who has particular interests in nutrition and fitness. She also loves music and enjoys reading Christian biographies. She thinks social work and public health are noble professions. Ultimately, she's exclusively for Jesus.

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