Getting It

It can be easily passed on through oral and anal sex, as well as blood-to-blood contact, like sharing needles.

It’s especially infectious when there is any contact with syphilis sores/lesions, whether that’s through fucking, sucking or picking it up on your hands and touching yourself.

Symptoms and Testing

The symptoms of syphilis generally occur in three stages. The first occurs within the first three months of infection. Generally there are no symptoms, but if there are generally it is a few red sores on your cock, balls, arse, mouth or your throat. They are often painless and disappear after a few weeks.

If left untreated, some can experience a red rash on the palms of your hands or soles of your feet, or even on any other part of your body. Some may even experience swollen glands or a sore throat. Left untreated in the long term, syphilis can potentially do damage to your internal organs and the brain.

For HIV positive men, a syphilis test should be done each time a viral load test is done.

For neg guys, a syphilis test should be done if there is any raw sex, group sex or have had a high numbers of partners.


Treating It

Caught early, syphilis is easily treated with a course of antibiotics. This means testing regularly is crucial if you want to treat it in the first stage.

A blood test is the common way of diagnosing syphilis, but your doctor or nurse might also take a swab of any sores (chancres) or lesions that you have.

The longer it remains in the body, the harder syphilis is to treat – many of the effects caused by the third stage are irreversible.

Once treated, a person is likely to always test positive for syphilis – even though they don’t have it any more and so cannot transmit it- this is normal, and your doctor should explain this to you. Other tests exist to check whether you have been reinfected.

Let your fuck buddies know quickly and confidentially (via free SMS or e-mail) that they should get tested using this anonymous tool from The Drama Downunder.

Think About

Syphilis is the most common STI for gay men in Australia and is on the rise. Condoms and gloves are the best protection against it, but they only protect the areas that they cover on the body.

  • Test regularly – at least every three months
  • Be mindful of any sores (chancres) on your body or the guys you fuck with
  • If you think you have it, don’t hook up and risk passing it on until you’ve sorted it out
  • Let your fuck buddies know so they can get tested and treated

More of It

For more information on Syphilis and other STIs check out:

ACON’s Ending HIV can help you find your nearest clinic for STI & HIV testing here.