Syphilis: Symptoms and treatment

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Syphilis: Symptoms and treatment

July 27, 2018

LiveScience talked to Dr. Lindlee Barbee, a UW Medicine infectious disease specialist and medical director of the Public Health -- Seattle & King County STD Program.

Dr. Lindlee Barbee, an expert on the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases,  spoke with Live Science reporter Cari Nierenberg about what people need to know about syphilis, It.s called "the Great Pretender" because its symptoms can resemble those of many other diseases.

The symptoms of syphilis in adults can vary, depending on the stage of the infection. There are four different stages: primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. 

The primary and secondary stages of the disease are the most infectious. Those stages are when the disease is most likely to be spread to other people who have contact with a syphilis sore.

Men who have sex with men are advised to have a syphilis screening at least once a year or more frequently if they have multiple sex partners, the Centers for Disease Control and and Prevention recommends.