Can you Get Syphilis from Kissing?

Published on Mar 09, 2021 | 10:41 AM

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Syphilis is one of the most common diseases faced by many throughout the United States. It’s important that we have a quick discussion about its symptoms, how they’re contracted, and the most effective preventive measures available. 

What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause serious health problems if left untreated. It is caused by a bacteria called Treponema pallidum. Since it is a bacterial infection, it is treatable with proper medical attention. 

How is syphilis transmitted?

Direct contact with a person’s infected area will allow the bacteria to enter another person’s system through the mucous membranes or any opening on the skin. Syphilis is usually contracted through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse.

In some cases, one can get syphilis by merely kissing a person with a syphilis sore (chancre) on the mouth. Chancres can also infect the vagina, penis, anus, or scrotum. Even though chancres are painless, they’re definitely highly infectious. This means that the person is required to seek immediate help before getting involved with any sexual activities.

Syphilis can also be transmitted from mother to child if the mother is infected during pregnancy and childbirth.

The four stages of syphilis

As it develops in the body, syphilis appears differently over time and comes in four distinct stages. As covered in greater detail in the CallonDoc Guide to Syphilis, these stages are identified by: 

Stage 1: Characterized by the development of a painless sore or ulcer, known as a chancre, at the site of infection. Symptoms typically take 21 days to appear but can take anywhere from 10 to 90 days to appear after exposure. 

Stage 2: Marked by the emergence of a skin rash, mucous membrane lesions, and flu-like symptoms, indicating the systemic spread of the infection. After the first appearance of the primary chancre, the second stage can take weeks to a few months to occur. 

Stage 3: Known as the latent stage, the third stage of syphilis can result in the disappearance of symptoms for several years and normally happens around a decade or more after the initial infection. While symptoms may not be present, the infection is still very much inside the body with gradual damage to internal organs occurring at this time.

Stage 4: Considered the most severe, the fourth stage of syphilis can occur around a decade or more after the initial infection and is identified by the complications developed throughout the third stage. Requiring medical intervention, patients at this stage typically cannot manage the condition on their own. 

How is syphilis treated?

Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Therefore, antibiotic treatment prevents Syphilis from progressing to further stages, particularly with penicillin. It's much quicker to fight off the bacteria when you catch it even before it has shown symptoms. If you’ve been infected for many years without receiving any treatment, you may have to face life-threatening health complications. 

It’s best to find out and get tested early on to follow the best course of action for your healing.

You can get syphilis through kissing

It’s a common concern for the public whether Syphilis can be contracted through kissing or not.

There are only a few well-known STDs that can be transmittable by an act as innocent as a kiss. The answer is yes. Syphilis is one of them. Unfortunately, it can be contagious through chancres present in the mouth, which are not always visible. This means that your chances of getting syphilis are increased if you compare it to other types of STDs.

With a higher probability of getting infected with Syphilis, it’s best to take precautions early on in the relationship. If either or both parties have had multiple partners in the past, do not hesitate to get tested and receive proper treatments.

Call-On-Doc is the #1 Rated Online Doctor for STDs. Get the treatment you deserve at Call-On-Doc today! It's Your Doctor, Your Way!


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Wayne Hahne,

English graduate and Call-On-Doc’s medical resource guide, Wayne C. Hahne is an experienced and passionate medical education content expert. Through diligent research, provider interviews and utilizing the industry's leading resources for wellness information, it is Mr. Hahne’s personal mission to educate the general public on medical conditions with in-depth and easy-to-understand written guides.

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