Syphilis in Women Overview (cont.)

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What is the prognosis for syphilis?

Syphilis infection can be cured in any stage by the administration of penicillin. However, in later stages, damage already done to organs is not reversible. Treatment in any stage can eliminate the infection, but once organ damage occurs, it is not reversible.

Can syphilis be prevented?

There is no vaccine available to prevent syphilis. The use of safe sex practices, including condom use, can only prevent syphilis if the infectious chancre is located in a body area protected by a condom. Washing or douching after sexual activity cannot prevent the infection. It is not always possible to know whether a sex partner is infected with syphilis because the chancre (ulcer) may be located inside the vagina or rectum. Neonatal syphilis is preventable by treating the mother early in her pregnancy.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease


"Syphilis -- CDC Fact Sheet." U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 20 Aug. 2013.

"Syphilis Elimination Effort (SEE)." U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 9 Sept. 2011.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/23/2015

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