The Three Stages of Syphilis

Treponema pallidium is the bacteria that cause syphilis, an STD or sexually transmitted disease. The infection is called venereal syphilis when it is sexually transmitted which is usually the case for the disease. It is also known as congenital syphilis when the infection has been passed over to an infant by an infected mother.

The 1950s was the time when penicillin became widely available which turned syphilis into an uncommon sexually transmitted disease. Yet, statistics still show new infections of 10 million every year.

There are no variations in symptoms for both men and women infected with syphilis. The symptoms are mild and hard to distinguish or recognize from other STDs. After exposure to the infection, it could take up to 3 months before symptoms begin to appear. The three stages of syphilis make it a slow progressing disease. The highly contagious stages of syphilis are its primary and secondary stages.

Stage 1 or Primary stage

There will be an appearance of one or more painless sores at the place where the bacteria of syphilis gained entry to the body. The sores make an appearance usually after 21 days after exposure. The sores are highly contagious and very hard to notice. The usual places where sores grow will be:

  • Around the mouth and anus for both men and women
  • In women, on the neck of the womb or cervix or outside the vagina or on the vulva
  • In men, on the penis

After 2 to 6 weeks, the sores start to heal even without treatment.

The infection will progress to the secondary stage if it is still untreated.

Stage 2 or secondary stage

After 3 to 6 weeks from the appearance of sores and infection is still not treated, it will now progress to the secondary stage. The symptoms will be:

  • Patchy hair loss
  • Swollen glands, flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, and fatigue that lasts for weeks and even months
  • The roof of the mouth or the tongue will show white patches
  • Rashes that are not itchy will appear in patches or cover the entire body
  • The anus in both men and women or the vulva in women will show warty-looking flat growths

This stage is highly contagious which can be sexually transmitted to a sex partner. After a few weeks, the symptoms may disappear but it will recur for years.

The infection will be cured if treatment is done to these two stages of syphilis.

Stage 3 or tertiary or latent stage

If syphilis is still untreated, the disease will progress to the last stage. It is also called the latent stage as the infected person will not experience any symptoms at this time.

After 10 years and infection is still not treated, it will develop into the tertiary stage or symptomatic late syphilis phase. This stage will cause serious health conditions affecting the nervous system and the heart.

Treatment for the latent stage could still be possible, but the nervous system or heart damages that have occurred will be irreversible.

A Better Understanding Of Syphilis

Having sex with an infected person can transmit syphilis. Syphilis is caused by the bacteria called Treponema pallidum. The infection can enter the body through oral, vaginal, anal sex which can come in contact with an infected sore.

Sharing a needle with someone who is infected is another way of contracting syphilis.

An infected mother can pass the infection to her baby. It can cause serious health complications for the baby and mother if left untreated, leading to stillbirth or miscarriage.

You cannot get infected by syphilis when you share the same bathroom, toilet, utensils, and clothing with an infected person as bacteria cannot survive outside the body.

Phases of the infection

There are three phases in the development of syphilis and they are:

  • Primary syphilis or phase 1

Painless but very infectious sores can sometimes grow on the mouth, but more often on the genital area. Having close contact with the sores during sex can infect another person. The sore disappears after two to six weeks.

  • Secondary syphilis or phase 2

Development of a sore throat and skin rashes happen in this phase. After a few weeks, the symptoms disappear but do not leave. It will lie dormant in the body for many years which is called the latency or hidden period. If still untreated, it will progress to the most dangerous phase which is phase 3.

  • Tertiary syphilis or phase 3

Untreated syphilis will eventually progress to phase 3 or tertiary syphilis. This phase can cause serious medical problems to the body.

The most infectious phases of syphilis are the primary and secondary. During the latency phase which can happen about two years after being infected, the disease cannot infect other people.


If syphilis is diagnosed at onset stage, penicillin injections are the standard medical treatment given. A course of antibiotics can be another medical treatment. Your doctor will know what treatment will best apply to your case.

If syphilis is left untreated, it could cause serious diseases such as blindness, paralysis, stroke, and, eventually, death.


One of the leading complications to syphilis is the high chance of becoming infected with HIV. Syphilis causes genital sores that easily bleed making it a gateway for the virus from HIV to enter the blood during sex.

Having both HIV and syphilis infections can bring about serious health complications to the body because syphilis could rapidly progress to the tertiary phase compared to the normal progression of the disease.


The only way to avoid getting infected with syphilis is to have sex with a single uninfected partner that has been tested or to abstain from sex.

You can also reduce the chances of acquiring the infection by:

  • Not sharing needles, or sex toys
  • Safe sex practice which is by using a female or male condom during anal, vaginal or oral sexual activities
  • Using a plastic square or dental dam during oral sex

If you think that you have acquired syphilis visit STD test centers, clinics, hospitals or sex health organizations as soon as possible. Serious health conditions can be prevented when syphilis is treated earlier.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Signs, Symptoms and Causes

It is generally through sexual contact that STDs or sexually transmitted diseases or STIs or sexually transmitted infections are acquired. Sexually transmitted diseases are caused by organisms that could pass from one person to another through vaginal, blood, semen, and other body fluids.

There are also nonsexual kinds of transmission such as an infected to her baby from pregnancy to birth or through shared needles or blood transfusions.

People who may seem to be in the best of health may be the one to infect you especially when they are not even aware that they have the infection. Some people do not show symptoms even when they have STDs which is why the term ‘sexually transmitted infections’ is more preferred than ‘sexually transmitted diseases’.

STDs have several signs and symptoms which could most often be hardly noticeable until a partner is diagnosed or health complications happen. They may include:

  • Bumps or sores on the rectal area, genitals or in the oral area
  • Burning or painful urination
  • Discharges from the penis
  • Unpleasant-smelling discharges from the vagina
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Lymph nodes that are sore and swollen especially the groin area
  • Lower stomach pain
  • Rashes on feet, trunk or hands

Depending on the organism, symptoms may appear a few days after infection or could take years to show.

Consult a doctor right away if:

  • You are experiencing STD signs and symptoms
  • You are active sexually and you’ve been infected with an STD

Arrange for an appointment with a doctor:

  • When you are 21 years old and want to become sexually active or vice-versa
  • Before involving in a sexual relationship with a new partner

The following can cause sexually transmitted diseases:

  • Viruses (HIV, human Papillomavirus, genital herpes)
  • Bacteria (Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis)
  • Parasites (Trichomoniasis)

The main reason for getting infected is engaging in sexual relations, but getting infected without sex can also be possible such as Giardia intestinalis, shigella, and the viruses of Hepatitis A, B, and C.

If you are sexually active you have a high risk of getting infected and here are some factors that could up the ante:

  • Unsafe sex. Sexual activity such as anal or vaginal penetration without using latex condom stand a high risk of getting infected with STD. Inconsistent and improper condom usage also increases the risk.

Oral sex needs a dental dam so infection cannot be passed.

  • Multiple sex partners. You are more exposed to acquiring STD when you have multiple sex partners.
  • Have a previous STD history. If you have STD such as Chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea or syphilis that has not been treated and you engage in unprotected sex with a partner who has HIV, you will get infected right away. You can also get re-infected if your current partner has not been treated.
  • Sharing of needles. Injecting drugs and sharing the needles can spread a lot of serious infections such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and HIV. If you get infected with HIV while sharing needles, there’s a good chance that you can pass it sexually.

Things You Need To Know About Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Commonly known as STDs, sexually transmitted diseases are passed when you have sex with an infected person. The sexual activities that can infect you with STD are ones that involve the penis, mouth, vagina or anus.

STDs need treatment as they are serious diseases. HIV is an STD that is deadly and incurable. By knowing more about STDs, you can learn ways to protect yourself from getting the following STDs:

  • Gonorrhea or the ‘clap’
  • Genital herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Genital warts/Human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Chlamydia
  • Hepatitis B


Most of the time symptoms will not show but if they do, they may include:

  • Severe itching near the vagina or penis
  • Warts, bumps or sores near the vagina, mouth, penis or anus
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Chills, aches, fever, pains
  • Redness or swelling near the vagina or penis
  • Foul-smelling discharges from the vagina. Discharges from the penis
  • Night sweats, weight loss, diarrhea
  • Pain during urination

Consult a doctor as soon as you show any symptoms so tests can be given to determine if you are positive for an STD. If placed under treatment, it can:

  • Help you recover and stay healthy
  • Help cure many STDs
  • Help you prevent from passing on the infection to others
  • Help relieve the symptoms of STD

Most STDs are treated with the use of either oral or injectable antibiotics. It has to be noted that even when you feel better, the complete course of antibiotics has to be taken. Your illness may be different from other people’s which means that you must never take medicines from someone else. This could make it hard to diagnose your illness. In the same manner, you must not also share your medications with other people.


Here are some of the ways to prevent or protect you from STDs:

  • The surest way from getting infected is to abstain from sex.
  • Correctly use a latex condom to all your sexual activities. A water-based lubricant is a better choice if you want to use some.
  • Avoid having multiple sex partners. The more sex partners you have, the higher risk you’ll have of getting STD.
  • Have a monogamous sexual relationship with only one sexual uninfected partner. Your partner should also have only you.
  • Choose your sex partners well. Do not engage in any sexual activity with the one you suspect may have an STD though just looking at a person is not a guarantee you will know if he or she is infected or not.
  • Get tested for STD. Avoid passing the infection to others.
  • Avoid using drugs or alcohol before engaging in sexual contact. The influence of alcohol or drugs may make you forget to use a condom during sex.
  • Learn more about the different signs and symptoms of STDs. Examine yourself and see if you have it or observe if your sex partners have it.
  • Read and learn more about STDs. You can better protect yourself when you know more about STDs.

What Causes Human Papillomavirus?

Warts are the causes of an HPV infection. There exist more than 100 types of HPV or human Papillomavirus. Warts on the various parts of your body are from the different kinds of HPV infection. Some varieties of HPV infection causes warts that commonly affect the neck and face while some types are responsible for warts on the feet which are commonly called plantar warts. The genital area is affected by more than 40 various types of HPV infection.

Cancer is not caused by most HPV infections. However, there are some strains of HPV in the genitals that can cause cervical cancer. The cervix is the passageway between the uterus and the vagina. The HPV vaccine will be able to protect and help stop the development of cervical cancer or genital warts that are caused by some types of genital HPV.

Most of the time the immune system of the body fights off an HPV infection before it can develop any warts. If warts make an appearance they may differ in shapes and sizes, depending on what type of HPV:

  • Flat Warts. They are a darker shade than your skin color and are lesions that are slightly raised and flat on the top. Normally scratched areas like the neck and face are their natural habitat. Flat warts that are caused by an HPV infection affect young adults, children, and adolescents.
  • Genital warts. They may be small with protrusions that are stem-like or bumps that are shaped like a cauliflower or lesions that are flat shaped. Genital warts in women are commonly found on the vulva but may also appear in the vagina, near the anus or on the cervix. Genital warts in men can be found around the anus, penis, and scrotum. They may cause itchiness but hardly ever cause pain or discomfort.
  • Plantar warts. They are grainy in texture that is hard to touch which are usually found on hard pressure areas such as the balls or heels of the feet. Their growth may be uncomfortable and painful.
  • Common warts. They are raised bumps that are rough in texture which are usually found on the elbows, hands or fingers. They may cause pain as they bleed and injure easily. Most of the time their appearance is a nuisance.

There are only two specific strains of genital HPV that are the cause of most cervical cancers. Warts are not caused by these two HPV types which are the reason women are usually unaware that they are infected with it. There are also no signs and symptoms for the early phases of cervical cancer.

It is very important that women get Pap tests regularly. Pap tests can detect changes in the cervix that may develop to cancer. It is recommended that women, ages from 21 to 29 get a Pap test every three years, while women, from ages 30 to 65 every five years which has to be accompanied with DNA HPV tests at the same time.

Dealing with HPV

Genital human Papillomavirus or HPV is a very common infection. Sexually active people may have been infected by the HPV virus in one way or another and may not know it.

Symptoms may or may not happen depending on the infection that was involved in the HPV virus type. The types of HPV virus are more than 100. Even if the warts are barely noticeable, genital warts are some of the types of HPV.

Other cancers and cervical cancer are linked to some types of HPV even when there’s no growth of warts. Common warts that can be found on the feet and hands are some of the types of HPV.

No health problems arise even when a lot of people do not treat genital HPV. However, the danger of developing health complications such as anal or cervical cancer becomes a higher risk when the virus stays long in the body.


The skin and the mucous membranes such as the genital area are places that the HPV virus wants to live in. One of the first signs for an HPV infection is genital warts. The Genital warts have several appearances. They can take the form of a cauliflower. Sometimes there will be an appearance of multiple warts; sometimes there will only be one. They can be big or tiny. They can grow on the penis, anus, thigh, cervix, groin, and scrotum.

After weeks or months from an exposure to an HPV infection, genital warts will begin to appear. The infected person you got your HPV infection would not even know that he or she has it.

Cancer of the penis, cervical cancer, cancer of the anus, and cancer of the vulva are connected to other kinds of genital HPV infection.


A doctor seeing a growth of genital warts could form an HPV infection diagnosis. However, warts that are connected to an HPV type may not necessarily be the one that produces cancer. It is another type of HPV causing cancer virus that can cause cancer in women which could get a diagnosis after a Pap test. The Pap test is the diagnostic tool doctors use to find precancerous shifts in the cervix or cervical cancer.

Of all HPV types, it has been noted that 70% of reported cervical cancers come from the 16 and 18 strain.

An HPV test is seldom given to under age 30 women as younger women could, without treatment clear HPV infection from their bodies.

In men, a diagnosis for an HPV infection can be formed when there is the presence of genital warts.

The best time to perform an HPV test on a woman would be in the age bracket of 30 and over. The test helps the doctor and the women find out if she has a low or high risk of getting cervical cancer.

There is also no need for an HPV test to be done to women who are trying to conceive unless her Pap test would register an abnormality. It is now a standard procedure to take a Pap smear during the first prenatal examination.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Transmission

The lentivirus in the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is the chief cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. The immune system is destroyed by HIV leaving it open for invasion by cancers and other harmful infections. As of today, no cure is available for HIV/AIDS but antivirals taken daily for a lifetime can delay the progression of the disease. The disease has been listed as a pandemic by the World Health Organization which has made it a top priority for prevention of infection in many health centers from different countries around the world. The largest number of HIV/AIDS cases is in Africa and statistics show that as many as 2 million people die of AIDS every year.


An exchange of infected body fluids like semen and blood is how HIV gets transmitted from an infected person to an uninfected one. This makes us see that safety measures have to be used in order to avoid coming in contact with the infected fluids. Sexual activity is the most common way of HIV transmission. Reducing the risk of becoming infected would be the usage of safe sex procedures. Even if statistics shows that women infect less than men, vaginal fluids that can enter through cuts in the penis or mouth will bring infection. Anal, fellatio, and vaginal intercourse should only be performed through the use of a condom. Dental dams should be used when oral sex on females is performed. Kissing should be avoided if open wounds or sores can be seen as saliva that contains infected blood can transmit the disease.


While male condoms are widely used, there are also female condoms that provide the same protection even if they are not as widely accepted. Condoms should be made acceptable, affordable, and accessible in order to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS.


Male circumcision has been considered as a way to reduce the transmission of HIV yet has been found to be far less effective than using a condom.

Intravenous drugs are also one of the ways where HIV can be transmitted. The sharing of needles between drug addicts has provided the perfect pathway for HIV to be transmitted from person to person. Since the drug addicts could not be stopped from using prohibitive drugs, the various health agencies have no choice but to advise them not to share needles or else to use fresh ones while injecting the drugs. This scenario also applies to people who use intravenous drugs like insulin. A used needle should be disposed of properly to avoid the spread of disease.


Breastfeeding should never be done when the mother is infected with the HIV virus. Transmission of the virus from the mother to the child will pass through breast milk which is a body fluid.


One of the professions that are at high risk for HIV transmission would be the healthcare professionals. In order to avoid this, healthcare professionals should always gloves and mask especially when caring for HIV-infected patients that have open wounds, sores, and handling other body fluids. Used needles should always be disposed in safe collectors.

HIV Symptoms – What is Human Immunodeficiency Virus?

The body’s immune system is the main target of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV and, if not timely diagnosed and treated is life-threatening.

The cells in the individual’s immune system are gradually attacked by HIV which gives him/her low resistance to infections. A person is termed as ‘HIV positive’ as soon as he or she is diagnosed with HIV. Continuous and lifetime treatment is needed for a person found to have HIV which can be fatal if left untreated.

AIDS will be the diagnosis when HIV has weakened an individual’s immune system. This is because the CD4 count or white blood cells of the individual goes to levels below 200. When this happens, it is mandatory that the individual acquire antiretroviral therapy as by this time a severe damage has happened to the immune system.

A treatment can only be started when a person is sure that he or she has HIV. HIV could not be diagnosed right off as its signs and symptoms are similar to other infections that even a doctor cannot detect it. A person may show signs and symptoms of flu and may not even know that he or she already has HIV. This makes it doubly hard to pinpoint HIV when a person becomes sick. On the brighter side, tested HIV does not mean that your life is over. When treatment is followed there is a good chance that it will not become full-blown AIDS.

There are ways to check for HIV and one of them is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, better known as ELISA where samples of urine, saliva, and blood are taken from the patient. The effective times the test could be done to a patient are between 2 to 12 weeks after he or she has become infected. The way it can be determined that the person is HIV positive is the different kind of antibodies that they produce which could not be found in antibodies of people who do not have HIV.

Another test that could be done is called the Rapid HIV test which is done by a finger prick and where the blood sample taken could be given an antibody count. After a period between 20 to 30 minutes, results could be given and the clinic is the usual setting for this kind of test. Yet, Rapid HIV test should be backed by the Western Blot to confirm the diagnosis.

The most common tests done to a suspected HIV individual is the Western Blot. This type of test is a secondary confirmation and uses electrophoresis in laboratory setting.

It can’t be emphasized enough that body fluids are the gateway of the HIV virus. An HIV- infected person can immediately infect another individual through unprotected sex, sharing of needles, breast milk, and a blood transfusion from an infected blood.

If you suspect yourself or a loved one to have contracted HIV, the only way to find out is to have body fluids testing. This could spell the difference between life and death.

Different Types of Hepatitis – Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis

Swelling or inflammation of the liver is described as hepatitis. This happens when the liver has been exposed to substances which can harm it such as alcohol or an effect from a viral infection.

There are other types of hepatitis that may afflict, but will not permanently damage the liver.

Other types can last for many years leading to liver scarring such as cirrhosis. In serious health conditions, it may cause liver failure or liver function loss or liver cancer which could eventually lead to death. These long-lasting types of hepatitis are referred to as chronic hepatitis.

The first symptoms of hepatitis that is developed by infection could be compared to symptoms of the flu:

  • Jaundice which is yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Being sick
  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Feeling sick

When it is already chronic hepatitis, these will be the symptoms:

  • A sense of being unwell
  • Extreme fatigue all the time
  • Jaundice
  • Depression

In most cases, there are hardly noticeable symptoms in cases of hepatitis which could make infected people unaware that they have it.

Types of hepatitis


Hepatitis A

The most common viral hepatitis, it is caused by the virus from hepatitis A. It is very common in places where there are poor sewage and sanitation disposals.

You can also become infected when travelling to countries where hepatitis A occurs frequently.

Eating or drinking something contaminated with the feces from hepatitis A infected people will transmit the infection.

After three months, symptoms and infection will go away. There is no special treatment program for hepatitis A except to provide relief from the symptoms.

The best protection against hepatitis A is vaccination. It is highly recommended if you plan to travel to countries where hepatitis A is common.

Hepatitis B

The hepatitis B virus causes hepatitis B. This can be found in body and blood fluids, such as vaginal fluids and semen, so it can be transmitted during birth from an infected mother, unprotected sex and needle-sharing when drugs are injected.

It is a fairly uncommon infection that is usually confined to groups such as users of drugs. Most people could fight off the virus and recover fully after a few months. However, some people develop chronic hepatitis B which could lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis.

Hepatitis B vaccination is available for protection and prevention. It is recommended for high-risk people such as healthcare workers and drug users that inject drugs.

Hepatitis C

Found in the blood and, to some degree, in the vaginal fluid, semen, and saliva of an infected person, the hepatitis C virus causes hepatitis C.

Blood-to-blood contact is the usual spread of the infection since the hepatitis C virus is concentrated in the blood.

It is commonly spread by sharing needles among drug users when injecting drugs. It does not show any symptoms which are the main reason why people are unaware that they have the infection.

Only a few people will be able to ward off the infection and become free of the virus. In most people, it will develop into chronic hepatitis C leading to liver failure and cirrhosis.

Do You Have Hepatitis? – Things You Should Know About Hepatitis

Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C is viral hepatitis which are diseases that can do damage to the liver. Here are some information about the different types of hepatitis disease and its transference which can make you aware to prevent from becoming infected with it.

Hepatitis A


  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice (dark urine, yellow skin, and eyes)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever


  • Eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with feces from an infected person.
  • Contamination through handling of vegetables, fruits, and other food from infected people.
  • Eating raw shellfish that were taken from waters that have been contaminated with the virus.
  • Drinking ice contaminated with the virus.

Highest risk to get the infection

  • Traveling to countries where hepatitis A is a common occurrence
  • Have sex or live with an infected person
  • Teachers and kids in child care
  • Men having sex with men
  • Individuals who use injectable illegal drugs

Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for:

  • People suffering from long-term liver disease
  • Travelers visiting places in the world that shows a high level of hepatitis A infection
  • People who use illegal and injectable drugs
  • Men having sex relations with other men
  • Individuals who have health problems in blood clotting

Hepatitis B


  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Mild fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Headache
  • Skin rashes
  • Joint pain and muscle aches


  • An infected mother can pass the virus to the baby during delivery.
  • Sharing of items such as toothbrushes or razors with an infected person.
  • Not using a condom when having sex with an infected person.
  • Unsterilized tools used in skin piercings and tattoos.
  • Sharing of needles with a person infected with hepatitis B.


There is a vaccine available for hepatitis B which could help protect from getting the infection.

Hepatitis C


  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite


  • An infected mother can pass it to the baby in childbirth
  • Sharing needles and drugs
  • Accidentally injected by an infected needle
  • Sex particularly when you engage in rough sex, have multiple partners, have an HIV or STD infection



You need to get a test for the disease for the following reasons:

  • If you were born between years 1945-1965.
  • If your mother was infected with hepatitis C when she gave birth to you.
  • If you received a blood transfusion from a donor infected with hepatitis C.
  • If you have an HIV infection.
  • If you had an organ transplant or blood transfusion before July 1992.
  • If you inject drugs.
  • If you have clotting problems and have received a blood product to help you with this health problem before 1987.
  • If you are on under a kidney dialysis treatment for a long time.


Getting infected with hepatitis C could lead to serious health conditions such as scarring of the liver, liver cancer, and cirrhosis if left untreated. This is one of the main reasons for getting a liver transplant.