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Syphilis Home Test – Rapid Syphilis Test Kit

I Think I Have Syphilis

It is a common thing for people to go about their business without even knowing their statuses, or even if they are currently carriers of certain infections, especially sexually transmitted infections. It is always a good idea to get tested regularly. Getting control of your health is paramount to your well being.

If you meet any of the following criteria, get tested:

  • If you have multiple sexual partners.
  • If you recently engaged in unprotected sex.
  • If you have a new partner.
  • If a sexual partner, both past and present, alert you of their recent diagnosis of syphilis.
  • If you feel the symptoms you are experiencing might be those of syphilis.

Syphilis Test

There are several ways in which tests can be conducted. Some facilities may even conduct multiple tests just to rule out coincidences. Some of the tests include:

  • Cerebrospinal fluid test: This is an inpatient procedure where the medical staff will conduct a spinal tap procedure. This involves the patient lying on their sides and the medical staff pushing a needle that will go directly into the spine. Some few drops of fluid will be collected and used for testing.
  • Bodily fluid: This involves swabbing a chancre and testing the fluid for the presence of the syphilis bacteria. This test is conducted during the primary and secondary stage.
  • Blood tests: These involve pricking your finger and blood collected in a viol, or smeared on a piece of glass. Whenever the body fights an infection, it creates cells known as antibodies. These antibodies are specific to the infection that is afflicting the body and these usually can last for a number of years, even if the disease has already left the system.

Syphilis Testing Near Me | Free Testing

Most health clinics offer syphilis testing.  So it is definitely easy to find a Syphilis testing clinic near you.  You can check with your local Planned Parenthood Health Center or clinic if they provide free STD testing.

Certified Syphilis Online Laboratory Testing

You can buy a test kit from the online lab and they will deliver the kit to your door step with discreet packaging.  No one can guess what is in the package.  The home test can be done in less than 5 minutes.

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Syphilis: Everything You Need to Know and How to Test for It.

You must have come across this scenario either while reading a book or watching a movie. There is that character at the beginning of the story who is ignored and even ridiculed or beaten up for having little power over a particular situation. Their attempts to fight back may look like the chest thumping of a puny creature and the only reason they’re still alive is because they’re not worth the trouble of dealing with.

They don’t go down quietly though. They put their head down and work the skin off their noses. They slowly wend their way up the chain of command of the mafia and they become the most ruthless drug lord to have existed.

This same story applies to syphilis. It appears as a mild, even timid infection and most people simply think their immune systems will take care of the issue. Not this time. When left untreated, syphilis can give rise to some very serious complications.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease. It is nicknamed “The Great Pretender.” This is because many of its symptoms mimic those of other infections, and thus commonly leads to misdiagnosis where the doctors are not keen. Symptoms usually manifest 21 days after infection, but it can range anywhere from 10 to 90 days.

This disease is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the US. The CDC gave statistics for infections for the year 2017. There were more than 100,000 fresh infections that year, which is 40,000 more than reported HIV infections. Of this number, 79 percent of the cases were in the early stages of the infection.

How Is Syphilis Spread?

Syphilis has to be spread by direct contact with an infected person. This infected person will have to have developed an open sore, also known as a syphilitic sore, or a chancre. A chancre is a lesion that normally is infectious.

These chancres usually form around the genitals in positions that are not easily observed. This could be the underside of the penis, in the folds of the labia or around the anus. In cases where oral sex was involved, chancres can form around the mouth.

Syphilis is therefore transmitted during physical contact as a result of sex, be it vaginal, anal or oral. The only other way of transmission is from mother to child while the child is still in the womb. We will take a look at this later in the article. 

What Are The Stages Of Syphilis?

This disease progresses in stages with increasing degrees of severity. This happens when the disease is left untreated. These stages work differently in individuals. In some it can take years, but then progress in a matter of days for other people. Let us take a look at these stages.

Primary stage syphilis

This is usually within 21 days of getting infected by the bacteria. This period can be longer though as it may take up to 90 days for any signs to appear. The lucky ones can go for years before any sort of signs appear.

The first step is the appearance of a lesion on parts of the genitals, the anal area or around the mouth. A lesion is an injury to the skin that cannot be explained. These lesions are the chancres. These appear as firm, flat and circular wounds.

They are usually painless, and this is the reason why they can go for days without being detected. They can last anywhere from three to six weeks and usually heal on their own. This is regardless of whether the person sought treatment or not.

The appearance of these lesions and other symptoms can vary between the sexes.

  • For men, a chancre will usually appear on the penis and surrounding area. This is not always the case though as chancres appear at the site of infection. They could appear around the anus and inside the rectum as well, for men who have sex with other men.
  • For women, the chancres appear on the vulva and the surrounding areas. This could be anywhere from the clitoral hood, the urethral opening, in between the lips or the perineum. They could also form inside the vagina next to the cervix. Because they are painless, most go entirely undetected, and they even heal on their own. For those who engage in anal sex, the chancres could form around the anus, the anal opening itself and even into the rectum.
  • For those who engage in oral sex, the chancres do appear on the areas surrounding the mouth. In rare cases, syphilis has been spread through kissing.

A good indication of a syphilis infection is lymph nodes that surround the site of infection will usually swell and can sometimes be painful. Even though the chancres resolve themselves in some few weeks, if treatment is not sought, then the infection moves into the next stage.

Secondary stage

After the disappearance of the chancres, it can take two to eight weeks for the infection to progress into this stage. In some cases, this could progress rapidly even into this stage even before the chancres heal.

At this point, the infection will have spread throughout the body. This will now cause other symptoms to occur. Also, an infected person becomes even more contagious at this point, much more than at the primary stage.

An important symptom is the development of a rash. This rash can appear all over the body. Although the palms of the hands and soles of the feet are usually resistant to skin conditions, they will not be spared at this stage. The rash has the following characteristics.

  • They can be flat or raised, and usually reddish or brownish in color. For this with darker skin, the sores could be lighter than the color of the surrounding skin.
  • The rashes are usually less than two inches across, and can therefore be easily mistaken for other forms of skin ailments. In other cases, they could be faint and could rarely be noticed by the infected person. They are also painless, which can further add to chances of misdiagnosis.
  • Open sores may develop on the mucous membranes in the mouth, vagina and the anal cavity.
  • Another type of rashes may develop on the wet areas such as the mouth, the armpits and the groin area. These are known ac Condyloma Lata and are usually large and raised. They could be grey or white in color. These sores could contain pus and can sometimes resemble, or be confused for warts.

The skin rashes will usually heal on their own, this is usually within two months from the date of their first appearance. This does not mean that the infection has cleared from the body. The person is still very contagious. Some discoloration of the skin may occur on the sites of the rashes.

Once the infection has spread throughout the body, other symptoms will give a good indication of what the person is suffering from. These could occur in the following ways:

  • A mild fever, usually raising the temperature no more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degrees Celsius.
  • Feelings of tiredness. It may not be prominent. It is usually accompanied by some feelings of weakness or some discomfort.
  • Some form of hair loss that may be erratic. This usually affects the eyebrows, eye lashes and to some extent, the scalp.
  • The lymph nodes will swell.
  • Loss of weight.
  • A sore throat may develop.

The nervous system will be affected in one way or another and may lead to symptoms such as stiffening of the neck, disparate reflexes, pupils not reacting in unison to light, headaches, irritability and can further deteriorate into paralysis.
These symptoms will usually resolve by themselves, whether treatment is administered or not.

This however is not an indicator that the infection has been cleared from the body. It is usually a calm before further degrading into the latent stage.

Latent stage.

This is also known as the hidden stage. At this point, all symptoms have cleared from the body and there are no signs of infection for a period of time. This is not an indicator that the infection has cleared. To the contrary, the infection is still very much in progress.

If one has been infected within the last 12 months, this period is known as early latent period. If it is more than two years, this is known as late latent period. This period can last for as long as 20 years. The infected person will still be contagious, not matter

At this stage, the only way to know of an infection is if a blood test returns positive results for the presence of the syphilis bacteria, or if a mother passes the infection on to her unborn child. This is known as congenital syphilis.

Relapses of the second stage.

Around 30 percent of the people who have already reached the latent stage will have a relapse back into the secondary stage. A relapse simply means going back into the state that one was in previously, and is usually reserved for when people slide back into worse situations, habits or conditions in their lives.

In this case, it means that a person has already gone through the two stages and did not experience any symptoms in the secondary stage. After being in the latent stage for some time, they then dropped back into the secondary phase for a period of time.  

A person may relapse a number of times. However, when they no longer relapse, they then are not contagious on contact. This does not apply to mothers-to-be as they will still pass the infection on to their child, who may come out with congenital syphilis, be cause of a miscarriage, or can even result in a stillbirth.

Tertiary Stage.

This is also known as the late stage. Many people will never experience this stage, but for those who do, the damage the disease can cause this stage is devastating. Some people can experience it after their first year of infection, others may experience it 10 to 30 years from the date of first infection.

Symptoms can include:

  • Large sores that can form on the skin, or even inside the body. These are known as Gummata.
  • Cardiovascular problems, which can include weakening of the heart valves which can lead to heart failure. It can also cause the blood vessels to become narrow, which is a recipe for a fatal heart attack. It can also cause the largest artery in the body, the aorta, to burst open. This is known as an aortic aneurism and is usually fatal within minutes of it happening.

Untreated syphilis will then move forward to attack the brain, spine and the nervous system. This is known as neurosyphilis. There are four types:

  • Asymptomatic, which means that there are no symptoms that accompany the infection.
  • General paresis, which can lead to memory loss, language, diction and pronunciation problems, decreased mental acuity such as problems with making decisions or even thinking, changes in temperament, personality changes, hallucinations, irritability and delusions.
  • Meningovascular, which attacks the meninges. This is a covering that is around the brain and spine. This can lead to death within 72 hours of an attack.
  • Tabes dorsalis, which is a damaging of the spinal chord and surrounding tissues. This can lead to symptoms such as lightning pains, problems with walking, loss of psychomotor coordination, bladder control problems, sexual function problems among many others.

Neurosyphilis always leads to a reduced quality of life and death if left untreated. Aside from these, syphilis can also cause multiple organ failure, can affect the bones as well as the eyes.

Syphilis that affect the eyes is also known as Ocular Syphilis. This doesn’t have a preference for a specific structure, but can affect any part of the eye. It can cause serious conditions such as:

  • Posterior Uveitis, which is also known as choroiditis. This condition is characterized by blurry vision, aversion to light and intense pain in the eye.
  • Pan uveitis which is an inflammation of all the structures of the eye. This leads to poor vision from blurring, or even total blindness.

Syphilis In Pregnant Women And Their Unborn Children.

Syphilis is treated as a serious infection, especially for pregnant women. This is because aside from causing serious damage to the mother, it can be catastrophic to the unborn child. As such, it is recommended that pregnant women be tested for syphilis at their first prenatal care visit.

Women who have never been tested for syphilis are encouraged to do so during their first trimester. This allows enough time to treat the infection and prevent it from affecting the child. This is also applicable for women living in areas with high prevalence rates.

For women who test positive during their first trimester, treatment is administered immediately and follow-up testing will be conducted during their third trimester. This is usually around 28 to 32 weeks of pregnancy.

Women who test positive are usually only treated with one type of antibacterial medicine; penicillin. This treatment is effective 98 percent of the time, thus preventing mother-to-child infections. In case the woman is allergic to penicillin, they are usually seconded to specialists for desensitization towards the treatment.

Women who do not attend to their syphilis place their unborn children at high risk of mortality. Untreated syphilis is fatal 40 percent of the time. How long the mother has been infected by the bacteria can greatly affect the chances of the child surviving. Longer periods of infection can result in miscarriages, still births or even the child dying soon after delivery.

Children born of infected mothers may not exhibit symptoms of an infection. However, if they’re not treated immediately, deterioration will be rapid. This results in the baby having problems in its development, which can then further deteriorate into seizures. All babies born to infected mothers are usually thoroughly investigated for signs of congenital syphilis.

Some of the symptoms exhibited by infants include:

  • Saddle nose, which is when the bridge of the nose is not fully developed or is missing.
  • Rashes on the genitals, mouth and anus.
  • Small blisters on the extremities, which then spread to the face. These are reddish brown in color, almost similar to copper and are usually round and can be bumpy or flat.
  • Watery nasal fluid.

For children whose symptoms appear later in their development, these can include:

  • Hutchinson’s teeth, which are wide-spaced teeth with notches, making them similar in appearance to spanners.
  • Loss of vision and even hearing.
  • Pain in the bones.
  • Scars around the genitals, mouth and anus.
  • Grey colored patches around the vagina and the anus.