Am I at Risk? If you are sexually active, you should get tested regularly for syphilis.

Protect Mom and baby. Pregnant women should be tested for syphilis.

Protect the ones you love. Get tested regularly for syphilis.

Let’s Talk About Using Condom Sense

When used the right way every time, male condoms and other barriers like female condoms and dental dams, can reduce (though not eliminate) the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and viral hepatitis.

How to Use Condoms and Other Barriers

These pages contain sexually graphic images and may not be suitable for some audiences

Please call the Public Health Clinic to schedule your STI testing today.
(937) 225-4550

Find a testing site near you.

Which STI Tests Should I Get?

If you are sexually active, getting tested for STIs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Make sure you have an open and honest conversation about your sexual history and STI testing with your doctor and ask whether you should be tested for STIs. If you are not comfortable talking with your regular health care provider about STIs, there are many clinics that provide confidential and free or low-cost testing. Below is a brief overview of STI testing recommendations.

  • All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV.
  • All sexually active women younger than 25 years should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women 25 years and older with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STI should also be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.
  • Everyone who is pregnant should be tested for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C starting early in pregnancy. Those at risk for infection should also be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea starting early in pregnancy. Repeat testing may be needed in some cases.
  • All sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men should be tested:
    • At least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Those who have multiple or anonymous partners should be tested more frequently (e.g., every 3 to 6 months).
    • At least once a year for HIV and may benefit from more frequent HIV testing (e.g., every 3 to 6 months).
    • At least once a year for hepatitis C, if living with HIV.
  • Anyone who engages in sexual behaviors that could place them at risk for infection or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year.
  • People who have had oral or anal sex should talk with their healthcare provider about throat and rectal testing options.

FAQs
(FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)

How can I reduce my risk of getting syphilis?

The only way to completely avoid STIs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting syphilis:

  • Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and does not have syphilis.
  • Using condoms the right way every time you have sex.

Condoms prevent the spread of syphilis by preventing contact with a sore. Sometimes sores occur in areas not covered by a condom. Contact with these sores can still transmit syphilis.

Am I at risk for syphilis?

Sexually active people can get syphilis through vaginal, anal, or oral sex without a condom with a partner who has syphilis. If you are sexually active, have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider. Ask them if you should get tested for syphilis or other STIs.

You should get tested regularly for syphilis if you are sexually active and

  • are a gay or bisexual man
  • have HIV
  • are taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention or
  • have partner(s) who have tested positive for syphilis.

All pregnant people should receive syphilis testing at their first prenatal visit. Some pregnant people need to receive syphilis testing again during the third trimester at 28 weeks and at delivery.

I’m pregnant. How does syphilis affect my baby?

If you are pregnant and have syphilis, you can give the infection to your unborn baby. Having syphilis can lead to a low-birth-weight-baby. It can make it more likely you will deliver your baby too early or stillborn (a baby born dead). To protect your baby, you should receive syphilis testing at least once during your pregnancy. Receive treatment right away if you test positive.

At birth, a baby with a syphilis infection may not have signs or symptoms of disease. However, if the baby does not receive treatment right away, the baby may develop serious problems within a few weeks. These babies can have health problems, such as cataracts, deafness, or seizures, and can die.

What are the signs and symptoms of syphilis?

There are four stages of syphilis (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary). Each stage has different signs and symptoms.

Primary Stage

During the first (primary) stage of syphilis, you may notice a single sore or multiple sores. The sore is the location where syphilis entered your body. These sores usually occur in, on, or around the

  • penis
  • vagina
  • anus
  • rectum and
  • lips or in the mouth.

Sores are usually (but not always) firm, round, and painless. Because the sore is painless, you may not notice it. The sore usually lasts 3 to 6 weeks and heals regardless of whether you receive treatment. Even after the sore goes away, you must still receive treatment. This will stop your infection from moving to the secondary stage.

Secondary Stage

During the secondary stage, you may have skin rashes and/or sores in your mouth, vagina, or anus. This stage usually starts with a rash on one or more areas of your body. The rash can show up when your primary sore is healing or several weeks after the sore has healed. The rash can be on the palms of your hands and/or the bottoms of your feet and look

  • rough
  • red or
  • reddish-brown.

The rash usually won’t itch, and it is sometimes so faint that you won’t notice it. Other symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • swollen lymph glands
  • sore throat
  • patchy hair loss
  • headaches
  • weight loss
  • muscle aches and
  • fatigue (feeling very tired).

The symptoms from this stage will go away whether you receive treatment. Without the right treatment, your infection will move to the latent and possibly tertiary stages of syphilis.

Latent Stage

The latent stage of syphilis is a period when there are no visible signs or symptoms. Without treatment, you can continue to have syphilis in your body for years.

Tertiary Stage

Most people with untreated syphilis do not develop tertiary syphilis. However, when it does happen, it can affect many different organ systems. These include the heart and blood vessels, and the brain and nervous system. Tertiary syphilis is very serious and would occur 10–30 years after your infection began. In tertiary syphilis, the disease damages your internal organs and can result in death. A healthcare provider can usually diagnose tertiary syphilis with the help of multiple tests.

How will I or my healthcare providers know if I have syphilis?

Most of the time, healthcare providers will use a blood test to test for syphilis. Some will diagnose syphilis by testing fluid from a syphilis sore.

Is there a cure for syphilis?

Yes, syphilis is curable with the right antibiotics from your healthcare provider. However, treatment might not undo any damage the infection can cause.

Can I get syphilis again, after receiving treatment?

Having syphilis once does not protect you from getting it again. Even after successful treatment, you can get syphilis again. Only laboratory tests can confirm whether you have syphilis. Follow-up testing by your healthcare provider is necessary to make sure your treatment was successful.

It may not be obvious that a sex partner has syphilis. Syphilis sores in the vagina, anus, mouth, or under the foreskin of the penis, can be hard to see. You may get syphilis again, if your sex partner(s) does not receive testing and treatment.

RESOURCES

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Resources

117 S Main St. Dayton, OH 45422
(937) 225-5700

201 Riverside Dr. Dayton, OH 45405
937-496-7133

Dr. Charles R Drew Health Center
1323 W Third St Dayton, OH 45402
937-225-4023

1222 S. Patterson Blvd., Suite 230 Dayton OH , 45402
(937) 853-3650

24 N. Jefferson ST, STE 200
Dayton, OH 45402
(937) 274-1776

PrEP provider

529 E Home Rd.
Springfield, OH 45503
(937) 390-5600

360 Wilson Dr. Xenia, OH 45385
(937) 374-5600

510 W. Water Street, Troy, OH 45373
(937) 573-3520

615 Hillcrest Drive Eaton, OH 45320
(937) 472-0087

 

Financial Assistance

To learn more about the U=U movement around the world.