What is a Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. It can affect both men and women. There are 4 different stages of syphilis: primary, secondary, latent and tertiary syphilis.

Prevalence of Syphilis

Syphilis is not that prevalent in the general population, however syphilis is becoming increasingly common among men who have sex with men and in many Indigenous communities.

The population rate of diagnosis of infectious syphilis more than doubled, from 3.1 per 100,000 to 6.6 per 100,000 in 2007.

Syphillis Prevalence Graph

2008 Annual Surveillance Report: HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmissible Infections in Australia

How is it transmitted?

Syphilis is usually transmitted by having unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone who has the infection. It can also be caught by direct contact with open sores. Additionally, a pregnant woman with syphilis can pass it onto her baby in the womb.



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