Syphilis is a contagious infection caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum and is spread through sex (and thus a sexually transmitted disease/STD). Syphilis has been around since ancient times and continues to cause problems in humans even today.
How does syphilis first present?
The first stage of syphilis presents with the chancre (pronounced shank-er). About 3 weeks after exposure and infection, a red bump or erosion appears. This spot can grow bigger and more firm. Other bumps and lumps may appear near this site and represent enlarged lymph nodes. Unlike other STDs such as chancroid, primary syphilis is usually NOT painful.
Where do chancres appear?
Where the infection entered! That means you can develop a chancre on the genitals, by the anus, on the lips, tongue, fingers, etc.
What should you do if you suspect you might have gotten exposed to syphilis?
See a doctor. The good thing about syphilis is that we have very effective treatments so do not hesitate seeking medical attention. A few minutes of potential awkwardness can save you much larger problems down the road (and prevent the further spread of syphilis to partners and to children if you’re pregnant).
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