Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by a bacterium called Treponema Pallidum. It is transmitted via unprotected sexual contact with an infected partner (through intercourse, oral or anal sex, shared sex toys, and drug needles). It is referred to as a "silent" STI because its symptoms are quite common, and can come and go. A person can live with syphilis for years and be unaware of it. Syphilis is curable, and should be treated immediately to prevent complications.
Recent news reports of an outbreak of syphilis in China have linked it to a growth in the economy, the influx of migrant workers, and increased prostitution and unprotected sex. Congenital syphilis (passed from mother to baby during pregnancy) is common, and health reports show that one infected baby is born every hour in China. Rates have also increased over the last decade in the UK and US.
While syphilis can be passed from mother to infant during vaginal delivery, the most common way to contract the disease is by sexual activity:
Yes. Early stage syphilis is easily curable; Treatment is more difficult at later stages.
Bacterial. Syphilis is caused by the bacterium ema pallidum.
Antibiotics. A single injection of penicillin at early stage; Later stage treatment may require hospitilzation.
Varies. Recovery from syphilis is not complete until all the sores are healed; Damage from the disease may be permanent.
No. Avoid sexual activity until the disease is fully cured.
Yes. Sexual intercourse with an infected partner can lead to re-infection.