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In 2015, there were nearly 75,000 cases of the Syphilis diagnosed in the U.S. alone, compared to years ago when the STD was under control through penicillin. A new antibiotic-resistant strain of the disease is spreading at an alarming rate.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork warns that if the STD, which is often difficult to identify, is left untreated it “can create major problems.” The disease has 3 stages, which include:
- Primary Stage: Marked by a painless sore, which can take up to 90 days after infection to appear, usually on the genitals or in the mouth
- Secondary Stage: Marked by a skin rash and possibly a fever, headache, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, weight and hair loss, and fatigue
- Latent/Late Stage: All of the previous symptoms disappear in the latent stage, but the infection remains in the body. Issues like permanent blindness, brain damage, paralysis, dementia and sometimes death can occur in the latent stage
Dr. Stork stresses, “I want this to be a wake-up call for everyone and why it’s so important to protect yourself, to know your partner, to have that awkward conversation… talk about getting tested [with your partner].” He goes on to note that women are more susceptible to the STD. It is also possible for a pregnant mother to pass Syphilis to her unborn baby.
The Doctors’ takeaway regarding Syphilis: know your status and get tested, talk to your sexual partners and always use a condom.