Syphilis is a bacterial infection and has been with humankind for as long as we have existed. It is transmitted sexually, but it can also be passed from a mother to her baby during birth. Most people will notice a lesion or sore at the site of the infection (normally a penis, vagina, anus, but it can appear in other places) about 2-6 weeks after they have been infected. This may be itchy or irritating, but not always. Either way, any time you get a new sore on your genitals, or elsewhere, that you think may be connected with your sexual activity, see your doctor or sexual health clinic.

Syphilis can be treated and cleared with antibiotics through injections that have to be administered by a doctor or nurse. It’s much easier to treat if you get it early. Millions of people get infected with syphilis each year worldwide, so don’t hesitate to see a clinic if you think there may be an issue. They’ll do a blood test for it, which can take a few days to process.

If you don’t get syphilis treated, it can progress to a much more serious disease, so it’s best to get it checked as soon as possible.