The treatment of
syphilis and other
sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is complex. If
antibiotic treatment with penicillin will usually cure
a syphilis infection. If syphilis has progressed to the
tertiary stage, antibiotics can prevent further
complications. But they cannot reverse damage that has already occurred. Prompt
antibiotic treatment will decrease complications and prevent the spread of the
Exposed sex partners should be treated
for syphilis. The chancres in
syphilis can make transmission of HIV more likely. So
testing for both syphilis and
HIV should be done.
- Antibiotics are always used to treat
What to think about
In rare cases, the first
attempt at treatment does not cure the syphilis infection. Follow-up blood
tests are needed to be sure the infection is cured.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Devika Singh, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
September 29, 2011
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