Over the past five years, there has been an 82% rise in the number of people being diagnosed with syphilis across the East of England. A bacterial infection usually caught through sex with an infected person, the symptoms of syphilis are easy to miss. If left untreated, syphilis can cause serious damage to your major organs, which is why it’s important to catch the disease as early as possible.
Some people with syphilis have no symptoms. Those who do may experience a rash, sores, tiredness, swollen glands, or fever, and without treatment a person will typically remain infected.
“Patients with syphilis can have painless ulcers in their genital area, rashes on their palms and soles, or a florid general rash without obvious reason,” said Dr Claudia Krause, Consultant physician in genitourinary and HIV medicine at iCaSH. “But more often than not they only have a positive blood test result."
However, syphilis is easy to prevent, test and treat. Using condoms are the best option to protect yourself from the disease, and, if diagnosed early, it can often be treated with a short course of antibiotics. If you’re worried you might have syphilis, don’t wait - order a free and confidential home test here or find your nearest clinic here.
Find out more about this awareness campaign, launched by Public Health England (PHE) and Terrance Higgins Trust and 12 local authorities, at https://www.tht.org.uk/banana or follow updates on social media with the hashtag #syphilisbanana.