Syphilis – “The Great Pretender”
Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted infection that effect both men and women. The infection, known as Treponema pallidum, is a gram-negative bacterium that is spiral shaped. Also known as “The Pox” and “Bad Blood”, the infection can lay dormant at times which result in no symptoms to its host. On the other hand, and it can also be active at times which symptoms occur. If the infection is left untreated, long term complications may occur and even death. Syphilis is contracted from direct person to person contact of the infected area. Transmission can occur during vaginal, anal, oral sex or by having exposure to the open sore in its first stages when it is the most contagious. Pregnant women can transmit the bacteria to her unborn child through the placenta during pregnancy and delivery. Even if the infected host has no symptoms, he/she can still transmit the infection to others. During the first stages after being exposed to the infection a sore called a chancre develops. In men, the sore appears in the genital area, usually on the penis. In women, sores develop on the outer genitalia or in the inner parts of the vagina. In both men and women, the sores are usually painless and may have swollen lymph nodes in the area near the infection. It is also possible sores may occur in another area of the body besides the genitals. If syphilis is left untreated in its early stages it may cause blindness, problems with nervous systems and heart, and mental disorders. It can also cause death.
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