Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If left untreated, syphilis can cause brain, nerve, tissue damage, and death. Fortunately, syphilis can be treated with antibiotics.
Specific bacteria cause syphilis. It is passed through direct contact with a syphilis lesion, which may happen through:
- Vaginal, anal, or oral sexual contact with an infected person
- A pregnant woman who passes the infection to her unborn baby (called congenital syphilis)
Last reviewedJune 2013by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.