SYPHILIS   This is a particularly nasty STD as the long term effects of it can mean that you are at risk of heart disease or brain damage. There are three stages that you will go through if you have this STD, this is the same for both genders:

Stage 1: One or more sores of a reddish brown colour will develop over the genitals. These are generally painless.

Stage 2: You will get a rash somewhere on your body and get symptoms that seem like the flu. There may also be wart like growths around the genital area.

Stage 3: It is very risky to leave symptoms until this stage. Damage to the heart and brain, blindness and several other major risks are very likely and you could eventually die as a result.

This STD can only be passed during one of the first two stage of the illness through either skin to skin contact with any rash or sore, oral sex or vaginal sex. At the times when you don’t have any symptoms you are unlikely to pass it on but there is still a slight chance so use a condom anyway to be sure and protect from other STDs.

It is vital you go to a doctor or GUM clinic if you are at all worried about having this STD. You will have a blood sample taken and swabs from any sores. The results should come back within 2 weeks. The treatment is antibiotics as either tablets or an injection and will be given as soon as possible. You will need regular blood tests afterwards. If caught within the first year then treatment is simple, but the longer it goes on the harder it is to treat and the more lasting damage may be left.

It is important that you have no sexual contact during the times when you are experiencing symptoms, if you do then your partner has a high risk of infection, particularly if they come into contact with a rash or sore.

Only direct contact such as that stated above can spread this STD so don’t worry about anything else such as toilet seats, sharing baths, swimming pools or shared cutlery.

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