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How is syphilis diagnosed and treated?

Sexual Health

I failed my medical check-up fail because the clinic said I have syphilis. I would like to find out more about how syphilis is tested for, and treated please. 

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (2)

Hi there 

Syphilis is commonly detected during routine health checkups and pre-employment tests in people who have latent syphilis ( a late stage of syphilis in which patients have no symptoms) based on a combination of at least 2 positive syphilis blood tests. This is usually the most common method in which it is diagnosed in people with latent syphilis. 

In earlier more infectious stages of syphilis, patients may present with painless ulcers at the genitals from which swabs may be taken to help confirm the diagnosis , or have a generalised body rash affecting the palms and soles. Whichever the stage of syphilis, confirmation with 2 different types of syphilis blood tests are always required. 

What makes interpretation of the tests difficult is that some of the syphilis tests remain positive for the rest of your life even after treatment, and your doctor will have to take a detailed history when you have a positive syphilis test to see if this is a new infection or a previously treated infection. 

Syphilis is treated with a special form of penicillin injection. Early stages of syphilis only require a single jab, wheres latent/late stages of syphilis may require more jabs (3 jabs, once every week). This injection can be found at the DSC clinic or at sexual health/dermatology clinics. 

I hope you find this information useful.

Regards

Dr Wei Sheng 

Dermatologist/Sexual Health Specialist

0 144 views 3 Jan 2019

Syphilis is usually detected on a blood test as the patient might not have any symptoms.

It should be treated with a special penicillin injection, usually available only at the Kelantan Clinic or department of STD control.

0 144 views 30 Dec 2018
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