Can syphilis be cured?

Yes, the infection that causes syphilis can be cured. However, damage to organs in the body caused during late-stage syphilis often cannot be repaired.

How is syphilis treated?

Syphilis is treated with penicillin, usually given as a shot. This antibiotic kills the bacteria causing the infection. Since you and your sex partner are both infected, both of you must be treated.

It is important that you continue to take your medication, even if the sore or skin rash goes away. You may need to return to your healthcare provider to be rechecked for the infection. Treatment may need to continue for several weeks.

You also should:

  • Tell anyone you have had sex with in the last 2 years that you are infected. This step is especially important because the symptoms of syphilis are mild and may go unnoticed.
  • Don't have sex unless your healthcare provider says it’s ok.
  • Get rechecked to make sure the infection has been cured.
  • Get checked for HIV (AIDS) and other STIs (herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia).

Can I give syphilis to my unborn child?

Yes. If you have syphilis while you are pregnant, it’s possible that your baby will be born with the infection. Syphilis during pregnancy can result in death of the baby. If you are pregnant, you should be tested 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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