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Is there a treatment for syphilis?

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Screening test for sexually transmitted diseases in Barcelona.Carlo Ribas

Yes, of course there is. Treatment is with antibiotics since the disease is caused by bacteria and when the pathologies are caused by bacteria, antibiotics are usually the best answer. Syphilis is one of these diseases. It is caused by bacteria Treponema pallidum and cured with penicillin. This explains why syphilis has long been a terrible disease. Little could be done until antibiotics were discovered and commercialized in the 20th century.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), although it can also be transmitted from mother to child, a mother infected with syphilis can transmit it to the fetus. Most commonly, however, specifically in Spain, the highest percentage of those infected are through sexual intercourse. And in recent years it’s becoming more and more common. There was a time when sexual relationships were more protected and case numbers fell sharply. But in recent years syphilis has also been increasing, as well as HIV, which causes AIDS, or gonorrhea and all sexually transmitted infections in general.

Syphilis has three well-defined phases. When a person is infected, the first stage is called primary syphilis. It can start from a few days after the sexual intercourse that got her infected to several weeks later. That means it has a fairly long release period. What appears is the so-called chancre, it is an ulcer, an open wound that does not hurt and therefore is not usually given any importance. Plus, it usually goes away within a few weeks. And because of this, many infected people don’t recognize it as a symptom of something serious. But if left untreated, the disease progresses. The chancre usually occurs in the vaccination area: on the penis, in the lower part of the vagina or after oral or anal sex, in the mouth or in the anus.

In the second phase, other symptoms appear, which are sometimes confused with other pathologies because they are not specific at all. Adenopathies, which are inflammation of the nodes near where the chancre occurred, may occur. severe headache or headache; Sore throat that can be mistaken for the flu or a cold. And for this reason it is often not given importance, so that the disease goes undiagnosed and untreated, so that it continues to progress.

The last phase, called late or advanced syphilis, can bring very important complications as the bacteria get into the blood and into the cerebrospinal fluid. There can be multiple organ involvement, including the central nervous system. And it can be deadly. But even in this third phase, syphilis can be treated and cured. It’s more complicated, but it’s possible, and antibiotics are also used at this stage. The problem, once it gets here, is that while the antibiotic will clear up the infection, it won’t do the damage it’s caused up to that point. Patients who have had or have late-stage syphilis can experience very serious long-term sequelae, such as blindness, neurological, or mobility problems.

Maria Jose Alcaraz She is a researcher at the Murcian Institute of Biosanitary Research Virgen de la Arrixaca (IMIB)

Question emailed by DA

Coordination and editing: victory bull

we answer is a weekly scientific consultation sponsored by the dr Antoni Esteve Foundation and the program L’OrĂ©al-Unesco “For women in science”, which answers reader questions about science and technology. They are scientists and technologists, partners of AMIT (Association of Women Researchers and Technologists)that answer these questions. Send your questions to [email protected] or on Twitter #nosotrasrespondemos.

The advice in this office is of a general nature and does not replace medical advice. If you have any questions about your specific problem, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

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