Syphilis is a serious venereal disease but it is curable. If it is left untreated, different symptoms might appear in different stages. The disease is caused by a type of spirochaete bacteria. Syphilis is transmitted through sexual intercourse with an infected sex partner.

Incubation Period

The incubation period ranging from five to six days.

Syphilis infection can be divided into 4 stages:

Primary stage:

A painless sore (called a chancre) appears at the site of infection approximately 10-90 days after contact. Typically the sore appears near the sexual organ, but sometimes it can be discovered at less noticeable body parts. Whether it’s been treated or not, the sore will be healed naturally, yet the bacteria are still lurking inside the body.

Secondary stage:

Within a few weeks symptoms of secondary syphilis develops, such as fever, malaise, enlarged lymph glands, non-itchy rash at the palm of the hand and sole of the foot,. These symptoms eventually subside but the infection will go on to a latent stage.

Syphilis Latent Period:

The patient does not have any signs and symptoms and the diagnosis can only be made by a blood test.

Tertiary or late syphilis

Occurs several years to decades afterwards. Organs like the heart, eye, bones and central nervous system may be damaged by the bacteria, resulting in blindness, cardiovascular diseases, neurological and mental illness, physical disability or even death.

How do I find out if I am infected with Syphilis?

If you have any suspicion, you need to be examined by a doctor. Also you should encourage your sex partner to seek medical advice along with you.


At any time during the first two stages, syphilis can be treated with a completed course of antibiotic. Afterwards you must have blood tests to ensure full recovery. Do not have sex until two weeks after the antibiotic treatment. The period of treatment for tertiary syphilis may be longer.
Your sex partner may also need treatment depending on the contact history and the stage of infection. Please discuss this issue with your physician.

Syphilis is a serious disease that can affect your entire body. Therefore it must be thoroughly treated. Do not attempt to treat it by yourself as it may cause harm to yourself and your sex partner. If you have any suspicions, please seek medical advice immediately.

“AIDS Concern” provides free-of-charge Syphilis Antibody Rapid test, please call 2394-6677 for enquiry.