What is Syphilis?
Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. The disease starts as a painless sore and can typically be found on the genitals, rectum or mouth. Syphilis spreads from person to person via skin or mucous membrane contact with these sores.
Why should I test?
When left untreated syphilis can damage the heart, brain and other organs. Syphilis can also be passed from mothers to infants. Babies born to women with untreated syphilis can be stillborn or die from infection as a new-born. Babies born with congenital syphilis can have bone damage, severe anaemia, enlarged liver and spleen, nerve problems causing blindness or deafness, meningitis, and/or skin rashes.
What are the symptoms of syphilis?
- Some symptoms may include the following:
- Painless sores, skin growths and/ or ulcers that can appear on the penis, around the anus, vagina and/or mouth;
- Blotchy red rash typically on the palm of your hands or on the sole of your feet;
- White patches in the mouth
- Swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpits
If left untreated, syphilis can become life threatening.
What does a positive test mean?
The test has detected antibodies for syphilis in your blood. A follow up test will be needed to confirm the diagnosis of syphilis.
What does a negative test mean?
The test has detected no sign of antibodies for syphilis in your blood; this would mean you have not got syphilis or have recovered if you have had it previously.
What if I have had syphilis before, do I still need to take a test?
Being treated for syphilis once doesn’t mean you are protected from getting it again. If you think you may have syphilis, being tested is important.
How accurate is the test?
The test has a Sensitivity=98.4% and a Specificity=98.5%