Is it true that a person with syphilis can't spread the infection?

No. A person with syphilis can spread the infection during the first 2 stages of the disease. If you come in contact with an open sore (first stage) or skin rash (second stage), you can pick up the bacteria that cause the infection. If the bacteria enter your body through an opening such as the penis, anus, vagina, mouth or broken skin, you can get syphilis.

If a person has had syphilis for more than 2 years (latent syphilis), it’s unlikely that he or she can spread the disease. Don’t take a chance. Use a condom and spermicide during sex.

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

References

  • 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. library.ccf.org Accessed 5/8/2015.
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Syphilis Accessed 5/8/2015.

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