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This is a bacterial infection.
How you get it:
- Unprotected penetrative sex (vaginal or anal) and oral sex
- Sex toys that haven't been washed or covered with a new condom each time they're used
Signs and symptoms:
- The symptoms of syphilis are similar for men and women. They can often be mild and difficult to recognise. To begin with a painless, but highly infectious sore appears on the genitals, or in and around the mouth. The sore can last up to six weeks before disappearing. If not diagnosed or treated, this can lead to second stage symptoms such as a body rash which include hands and feet, flu like illness or the development of patchy hairloss.These may disappear after a few weeks with no further symptoms.
If it’s not treated:
- It can lead to damage of the heart, joints or nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerves).