Can Syphilis Reoccur?


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After having a syphilis infection, it is possible for the infection to reoccur. Following a syphilis infection you are not protected so it is vital that you be aware of the key initial signs of the disease to identify it, should you be re-infected. As a result, if you have had syphilis it is very important to inform all sexual partners you have been with at around the time of infection so they can be tested.  At a sexual health clinic, or GUM clinic, you may be given something called a contact slip. This is a slip that allows disclosure of your STI yet allows you to still maintain your confidentiality as your name does not have to go on the slip. It can either be given to your partner by yourself or sent to them, and it will advise them to get tested as they have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection. It is not compulsory to notify your partner but it is highly recommended to do so. Equally, it is important to check the sexual history of your partner for any potential STIs they may carry, including syphilis. The symptoms of syphilis may not also be obvious to see by just looking, as syphilitic sores may be concealed on the inside of the vagina, mouth or rectum therefore out of sight.

To prevent syphilis reoccurrence, there are various steps you can take to reduce the risk. Firstly any activities involving unsterilized equipment, such as needle sharing, pose a great risk to any individual not just for syphilis, but for more serious problems such as HIV. If you are a user of recreational drugs, the NHS run a service for the exchanging of dirty needles for clean ones at local health centres. A more common activity that may provide some risk for the spreading of syphilis is sharing smoking equipment, such as hookah or shisha pipes. Syphilis would be able to spread if an individual had a syphilitic sore in their mouth and you had any sort of sore or abrasion.  By far the most important and most likely form of picking up a yphilis infection is through the engagement in unprotected sexual activity. If you do have different sexual partners on a regular basis, it is important to get yourself tested regularly, ideally after each different partner.

If you are tested positive for syphilis it is vital you complete the recommended treatment again and go to the regular checkups as required. Even if you test negative and have concerns that you may have syphilis due to a sexual partner saying they have the infection, you should be treated with antibiotics as you may be infected with syphilis but the levels of infection are not yet great enough to show up on the test.


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