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Syphyilis Causes & Risks


Syphilis is caused by the bacterium, Treponema pallidum . It is passed through direct contact with a syphilis lesion. The contact can happen through:

  • Vaginal, anal, or oral sexual contact with an infected person
  • A pregnant woman who passes the infection to her unborn baby (called congenital syphilis )
  • Blood exposure, such as through illegal drug use, or rarely, blood transfusions

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of syphillis include:

  • Age: 15 to 34
  • Having sex with a person infected with syphilis
  • Having multiple sex partners
  • Not using a latex condom during vaginal, anal, or oral sex (in a relationship that is not mutually faithful or where syphilis status is unknown)
  • Touching a syphilis lesion
  • Past or current sexually transmitted disease

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2024 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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