What is the treatment for syphilis?
Syphilis can be cured with penicillin, which is an antibiotic. The penicillin is given as a shot. If you have had syphilis for 1 year or less, you only need to get 1 shot. If you have had syphilis longer than 1 year, you will need 2 or more shots. If you're allergic to penicillin, be sure to tell your doctor.
If you have an advanced case of syphilis, you may need stronger treatment. You may get shots of penicillin every day for 10 days. This can be done in the doctor's office or at a clinic. A few people have to go to the hospital to be treated with penicillin intravenously (through an IV).
If you're pregnant, it's very important to get treated right away. Syphilis can cause birth defects and even death in an unborn baby.
How will I know my syphilis has been cured?
After your treatment, your doctor will ask you to come back several times for blood tests. These tests will show if the antibiotic killed all the syphilis bacteria.
Resolving the Common Clinical Dilemmas of Syphilis by NR Birnbaum, M.D., RH Goldschmidt, M.D., and WO Buffett, M.D. (American Family Physician April 15, 1999, http://www.aafp.org/afp/990415ap/2233.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff