This page serves as a consultative resource for people diagnosed with syphilis and the professionals working with them.
Request for Guidance - Syphilis
This is a formal request for evidence-informed guidance and education for clinicians, using references such as the National STD Curriculum and the CDC. These consultations are provided without the benefit of a direct patient evaluation or examination, and are only based on information provided by the clinician. Therefore, guidance provided in response to inquiries here do not constitute medical advice, and do not to serve as a substitute for medical judgment.
For the Medical Professional
If you are a doctor, nurse, midwife, social worker, medical assistant, disease intervention specialist, or other professional who works with clients diagnosed with syphilis, we are here to help. TLCHD, along with experienced physicians of the University of Toledo Medical Center, is providing professionals with prompt, expert consultation on clinical questions related to syphilis.
- We aim to respond within 1 business day.
- Avoid providing confidential patient information (Protected/Personal Health Information).
- No emergent consults.
- This service is a free service for those working with patients diagnosed with syphilis in Ohio.
- Advice through this form does not serve as a substitute for a provider’s clinical judgment.
For the Patient
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. Infection develops in stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary), which can present different signs and symptoms.
Syphilis spreads through direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Syphilis can also spread from a mother with syphilis to her unborn baby.
If you are sexually active, the following actions can lower your chances of getting syphilis:
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and does not have syphilis.
- Using condoms the right way every time you have sex. (Condoms prevent the spread of syphilis by preventing contact with a sore. However, sores may occur in areas not covered by a condom. Contact with these sores can still transmit syphilis.)
- Pregnant people should be tested at 28 weeks
- Any person with signs or symptoms of syphilis
- Anyone with an oral, anal, or vaginal sex partner who was diagnosed with syphilis
- Anyone sexually active, especially with anonymous sex partners
- Men who have sex with men
- People living with HIV who are sexually active
- People taking PrEP for HIV prevention
How can syphilis be prevented?
Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of syphilis when the sore or site of potential exposure is covered, but it is best to abstain from sex while any sore is present in the genital, anal, or oral area. Contact with a sore outside of the area covered by a latex condom can still cause infection.