Treatment and Prevention of Syphilis

Syphilis, while it is still uncomplicated, is easy to treat with antibiotics.  Syphilis is more difficult to treat when extensive damage has already taken place.  Therefore syphilis should preferably be diagnosed quickly and treated while it is still in its early stages.


    The preferred antibiotic for the treatment of uncomplicated syphilis is penicillin

  • Antibiotics
  • The preferred antibiotic for the treatment of uncomplicated syphilis is penicillinPenicillin G is given intramuscularly as a single dose. Penicillin G is given intravenously if the patient has neurosyphilis which is a more complicated form of syphilis. These patients are given high dosages of penicillin for ten days.  For people with a penicillin allergy Ceftriaxone is used.

  • Treatment of sexual partner
  • Someone can be re-infected with syphilis.  All sexual partners should be treated even if they do not have any obvious symptoms.  This is extremely important and should be emphasized to all patients treated for syphilis.

Prevention of syphilis

Preventing syphilis is very important.  The following points are ways in which the risk of acquiring syphilis may be greatly reduced:

  • Abstinence
  • The best prevention is to abstain from any sexual intercourse.  In that way the risks of contracting syphilis are almost entirely reduced.

    condom use and monogamous relationships

    The easiest prevention of syphilis: condom use and monogamous relationships

  • Condom use
  • Condom use reduces the risk of contracting syphilis but still does not eliminate the risk completely.

  • Monogamous relationships
  • Being in a monogamous relationship where both partners are faithful to each other is a way of reducing the risk of contracting syphilis.  Both partners should be tested before entering into a sexual relationship as one partner may not know that they have syphilis.

  • Avoid substance abuse
  • Substance abuse increases risky and sexual behaviour which will increase the risk of developing syphilis.

  • Screening of pregnant woman
  • The risk of congenital syphilis may be reduced by screening all pregnant women.  This is done by doing a VDRL or RPR blood test.  Rapid syphilis screening tests are also available.  Infected woman are then treated during pregnancy.

Measures for syphilis prevention should be promoted.  If a person suspects that they might have syphilis it is important to be tested.  Treatment is available and syphilis is usually easily cured unless advance disease is present.  If left untreated syphilis leads to a lot of morbidity and even death.