Syphilis is caused by bacteria that penetrate the vagina, penis, anus and sometimes the mouth. One or more sores may occur in the infected area of the body two weeks to three months after infection. The lymph nodes near the sores will be swollen. These symptoms will disappear by themselves within two to three weeks but the infection has not gone away! Several weeks later, the second stage of the disease begins. The syphilis bacteria have then spread through the bloodstream to the rest of the body. If the infection is not treated at this stage, it will go into the latent stage during which the person has hardly any symptoms but remains infectious. Later, sometimes after many years, one or more organs of the body could become damaged: the brain, the spinal cord, the heart, the aorta, the bones.
Syphilis can be cured if treated in time.
Use a condom for vaginal, anal and oral sex. Use a dental dam for licking the vagina or anus (rimming). Avoid any unprotected genital contact (even using your hands). Take care when sharing a sex toy: wash it or put a new condom on it before another person uses it.