Posted by: Dino | 2008/07/15

Syphilis question!

Hi Doc

About 5 years ago I was feeling very tired and had reason to belive it might be an STD. So I got screened for STD and tested positive for Syphilis. They put me on doxycyline. Two or three days later I noticed a swelling on my penis, which the nurse told me was a chancre that would go away on its own. I have been tested three times since then and the doctor always tells me the tests show signs of the old infection, but that otherwise everything is fine. My questions are:
Can I still develop blindness, mental disturbances and, eventually die due to that infection?
Can I still infect my girlfriend (we haven't had any penetrative sex yet) even though all these years have passed?
Can it become active again later in life, or is it cured once and for all?

Thank you!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Hi Dino
When they test for the antibodies for syphilis you have positive IGM which means you have the infection now, or positive IGG which means you had the infection but developed antibodies against it. These antibodies does not protect you 100% – but if your IGM is now negative you are not infectious and you won’t develop the disease or any of its complications. Unless you and your girlfriend are both HIV and STD free, rather always use a condom.
You can be re-infected and may need treatment again if you sleep with someone with syphilis again.
Dr Bets

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