Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that in the early stages causes a painless, but highly infectious, sore on your genitals or around the mouth. The sore can last up to six weeks before disappearing.

Secondary symptoms such as a rash, flu-like illness or patchy hair loss may then develop. These may disappear within a few weeks, after which you'll have a symptom-free phase.

The late or tertiary stage of syphilis usually occurs after many years, and can cause serious conditions such as heart problems, paralysis and blindness.

The symptoms of syphilis can be difficult to recognise. A simple blood test can usually be used to diagnose syphilis at any stage. The condition can be treated with antibiotics, usually penicillin injections. When syphilis is treated properly, the later stages can be prevented.

If you have no symptoms and want a straightforward test you can:

  • either order a smart kit online for home delivery
  • or attend one of our clinics where you can collect a smart kit without needing to wait and see a clinician.

This is a quick, easy and confidential way to screen for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis.

Call our appointments line for more information about sexual health services in Merton, Richmond and Wandsworth.

0333 300 2100 (Mon-Fri 8am-7pm).

Read more about syphilis via the NHS Choices website