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Syphilis is a bacterial infection that infects the dick, throat or ass and then spreads to different parts of the body through the bloodstream. If left untreated, syphilis can cause damage to the nerves, bones, skin, eyes and brain. We are currently experiencing an outbreak of syphilis in NZ, so it's more important than ever to understand it, test regular and try to prevent it wherever possible.

Syphilis has primary and secondary infectious stages and a non-infectious/latent stage.

Symptoms

Infectious stages:

  • Primary
    A sore will form where the bacteria enters the body – on the dick, front-hole, balls, mouth or ass. It’s usually painless, but in some cases, it can cause discomfort and there may be more than one sore. The sore usually clears up on its own after three to six weeks and is followed by symptoms of the secondary stage syphilis.
  • Secondary
    There are many symptoms that can be present in the secondary stage of syphilis. One of the most common is a rash on the body that often includes the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Other possible symptoms include: headaches, fevers and swollen lymph glands.

Non-infectious/latent stage and tertiary:

If left untreated, syphilis remains in the body. It stops being infectious to sexual partners after about two years. During the non-infectious stage syphilis may begin to damage the body’s internal organs, which may include the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, liver, heart, bones, joints and blood vessels. In some people this damage may not show up for many years. Damage to the internal organs can occur after ten to twenty-five years and may be serious enough to cause death.

How can you get it?

You can get it from fucking or getting fucked, oral sex (giving or receiving), ass play or through direct skin-to-skin contact with sores or rashes on your dick, ass, mouth, lips or skin.

How do you know if you have it?

The best way to find out if you’ve contracted syphilis is to get a blood test (NZAF provide rapid/finger-prick tests for syphilis). Especially as sometimes symptoms may be mild and not noticeable during the early stages of the infection, and during the latent stage of syphilis you won’t experience any symptoms at all.

STIs

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  • Chlamydia

    Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can infect the mucous lining of the penis, anus or eyes.

    Keep reading…
  • Gonorrhoea

    Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that lives in the mucous lining of the penis, throat, anus or eyes.

    Keep reading…
  • Herpes (HSV)

    Herpes (HSV) presents in two different types.

    Keep reading…
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

    Human Papillomavirus (Warts) is the virus that can cause warts on the penis, anus or surrounding areas.

    Keep reading…
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)

    LGV is a particularly virulent form of the Chlamydia bacteria. It is still rare, but it may become more common over time.

    Keep reading…
  • HIV

    ​We comprehensively discuss HIV across our website, so we'll just cover the basics here. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It belongs to a group of viruses called retroviruses, which work by invading cells within the body then begin to continually reproduce itself.

    Keep reading…
  • Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A causes inflammation in the liver and is the form of the virus which often comes on very quickly and is short-term but severe.

    Keep reading…
  • Hepatitis B

    Hepatitis B is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. 

    Keep reading…
  • Hepatitis C

    Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that causes serious damage to the liver.

    Keep reading…
  • Gut Infections

    Gut Infections are caused by bacteria (such as amoebiasis, shigellosis, giardiasis and salmonellosis).

    Keep reading…
  • Molloscum Contagiosum

    Molloscum Contagiosum (MC) is a virus that causes pimple-like lumps on the body.

    Keep reading…
  • Pubic Lice (Crabs)

    Pubic Lice (Crabs) are small parasites that grip onto the hair in the genital area.

    Keep reading…
  • Scabies

    Scabies are tiny mites (smaller than crabs) that burrow under the skin to lay eggs.

    Keep reading…
  • Thrush

    Thrush (or Candidiasis) is a yeast infection that irritates the mucous membranes around the genitals.

    Keep reading…
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Treatment

Syphilis is typically treated with injections of antibiotics. The duration of treatment depends on the stage of the infection and ranges from between one day and three weeks. Treatment is often provided if you have had contact with someone who has had syphilis to prevent it from developing in you.

I'm living with HIV

Syphilis may be harder to detect and harder to treat in people with HIV. It is a serious infection that can be mistaken for other infections found in people living with HIV. While the symptoms of syphilis are usually similar, some people living with HIV can develop severe organ and nerve damage much more rapidly than HIV negative people. For some, syphilis can decrease the CD4 count. This can cause damage to the immune system as well as increase the viral load.

Prevention:

Avoid contact with any sores or rashes and use condoms with lube, as this will provide the best protection. Remember, there is still a risk of infection in areas not covered by the condom.

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