In order to make a syphilis diagnosis, your healthcare provider will likely ask a number of questions about your medical history, perform a physical exam, and recommend certain tests. As part of the diagnostic process, your healthcare provider will also rule out other causes of possible syphilis symptoms.
Testing can involve:
- Identifying the bacteria in a sample taken from a lesion (sore) and placed on a microscope slide (dark-field microscope)
- Blood test for the disease.
Treatment options will depend on:
- The stage (see Stages of Syphilis)
- What symptoms are present
- The person's age and general health
- Any allergies that the person has.
Penicillin is the preferred drug used to treat the disease at all stages. If a person is allergic to penicillin, he or she may be given another antibiotic. A person is more likely to need repeat treatment if he or she gets an antibiotic other than penicillin.
While you are receiving treatment for syphilis, you should:
- Avoid any sexual activity during this time. Sexual contact should be avoided until the sores are completely healed.
- Tell your sexual partners so that they can be tested and treated, if necessary.
After you have completed treatment for syphilis, get retested after 6 months and 12 months. Some healthcare providers recommend more frequent followup tests.
Damage already done to body organs cannot be reversed. Also, having syphilis once does not protect a person from getting it again.