Syphilis is a bacterial infection spread through skin to skin contact with an infected area including during sexual contact. Syphilis is often called “the great imitator” because it can display symptoms which are common to a number of other conditions. Syphilis can display different symptoms at different stages of infection.
However, these symptoms are not universal and some may appear at different times for different people or not at all. Initial infections are often characterized by the appearance of one or more round, painless sores around the infected area. Other symptoms can include a rash which often appears on the hands or feet, fever, swollen glands, sore throat, headaches, muscle aches, weight loss, and fatigue. It is common for Syphilis to go years without displaying any symptoms. If left untreated, Syphilis can damage the brain, nerves, eyes, liver, and bones.
Syphilis is highly contagious and testing is advisable for anyone who is sexually active.
The Syphilis RPR test is typically ordered as an initial screening for Syphilis.