Syphilis is a bacterial infection and a sexually transmitted disease. It spreads through sexual activity including oral and anal sex. Prolonged kissing can also cause these bacteria to transmit between partners. Syphilis typically starts with a painless sore on your rectum, mouth, penis or vagina. Syphilis spreads by the skin or mucous membrane coming in contact with these sores. After the initial infection, the bacteria can lie dormant inside the body for over a decade before it starts to show symptoms. During this time, the infected individual can inadvertently pass on the infection to their partners.
If syphilis is not cured, it can badly affect the heart, brain and lungs and cause other detrimental problems to the health. This may include blindness and arthritis which stresses on the fact that syphilis should be treated as soon as it is identified.
This disease can occur at any age or phase of life. Pregnant women with the disease can spread it to their babies. This develops a congenital syphilis in the baby which can cause abnormalities or even death.
Syphilis does not spread by using toilet seats of the infected, or using door knobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bath tubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils. It is only transferred through any and all kinds of sexual activity.