How can I know if I have syphilis?

If you think you have syphilis, or any STI, contact your health care provider. He or she can examine you and perform tests to determine if you have an STI.

To check for syphilis, your health care provider:

  • Examines your sex organs for chancres and skin for rashes.
  • Takes a small sample of blood. Signs of the infection may not show up in your blood for up to six weeks after you have been infected.

You may need to wait for several days to get your test results. If you have had another STD, you should also get checked for syphilis.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/14/2015.


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Syphilis Accessed 5/8/2015.
  • Augenbraun M. Chapter 19. Syphilis. In: Klausner JD, Hook EW, III. eds. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2007. Accessed 5/8/2015.
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Syphilis Accessed 5/8/2015.

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