What is HIV/AIDS?

Let’s talk syphilis

What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is easily shared between partners. A syphilis infection usually starts out as a sore or sores at the spot you received it but progresses through different stages affecting different areas throughout your body. Syphilis is simple to treat but can be serious if left untreated. It is really important to test regularly to see if you have it.

What does it look like?

Syphilis usually starts out as a red sore or sores at the spot where it entered your skin. It’s tricky though because it changes the longer you have it through a few different stages. It may look like a sore, a rash on your body or hands, swollen lymph nodes or a fever. It may also appear to heal on its own. Syphilis can stay in your body for many years and causes serious damage if left untreated. 

How do I get/give it?

Syphilis is shared when the parts of your body you use for sex, or the skin surrounding those areas, come in skin to skin contact with a syphilis sore. Since syphilis sores can occur in hard to inspect places (like inside your butthole or vagina) and they are generally painless, you or your partner may not even notice it is there. Also, since the sores can occur around your sexy areas (mouth, butthole, vagina, penis) a condom or dental dam might not cover an unnoticed sore. 

How do I know if I have it?

Order an Ash STI Testing Kit!

You may or may not see the symptoms of syphilis. It also may look like other things. Because it is so easy to share it, it is really important to check in regularly to see if you have it.

What do I do if me or my partner has it?

Syphilis is pretty straightforward to cure. If you catch it early it can be as simple as one shot from your doctor. Later stages may require more follow up, but it is treatable nonetheless. If you test positive for syphilis, we can even help you find a doctor. 

It is important to communicate with your partners so that they can take care of themselves as well. It is a good idea to be thoughtful about how you engage sexually and whether you share your infection with others through direct contact to your sexy areas or their bodily fluids. 


We get it though, these are tough conversations, which is why you can also send your friends or partners a kit through us anonymously. Communication is key folks.

Ready to learn more? Gonorrhea – CDC Fact Sheet