Syphilis is a highly infectious sexually transmissible infection (STI) caused by Treponema pallidum bacteria. If it is not treated, syphilis can cause serious health problems. Syphilis can infect both men and women. In NSW, syphilis is most often seen in men who have sex with men.

Syphilis is an STI that can be treated and cured with antibiotics. If it is not treated, it can affect the brain, spinal cord and other organs. The use of condoms and dams can prevent transmission.

Syphilis is usually treated with penicillin injections. The length of treatment will vary depending on the stage of infection. Follow-up blood tests may be required to check that the treatment has worked.

How far back in time should you trace your previous partners?

Primary Syphilis: 3 months plus the duration of symptoms

Secondary Syphilis: 6 months plus the duration of symptoms

Early Latent Syphilis: 12 months

(Note: this is a general guide only, consult your doctor for any other considerations that are appropriate for your own particular circumstances.)

Further Information

NSW Health