Three Ways To Get Tested for Syphilis
Syphilis is normally diagnosed using a urine or a blood sample or by analyzing a specimen (swab) taken from an infected region of the body.
There are three ways to get tested for Syphilis today that don’t require a visit to your doctor or a hospital lab: at-home STD tests, online STD test labs and clinics.
Each type of Syphilis test has its pros and cons.
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The rest of this page explains more about each method.
1. At-Home Syphilis Test Kit
An at-home STD test is an inexpensive way to test for Syphilis. But at-home tests are typically less accurate than a local clinic or an online STD test service.
Also, if you test positive using an at-home test, you may have to purchase a secondary test to confirm the result.
At-home Syphilis tests can be purchased from the following leading retailers:
2. Online STD Test
Want to keep things totally private AND get the most accurate result?
Then buying an online STD test service is a great choice.
Online Syphilis Tests typically cost between $50 and $250.
STDCheck is the largest online test lab company in the US. They have a mobile friendly website & excellent customer reviews. Reasonable prices, too.
STDTestExpress is another solid choice with labs located in most major cities. Unlike other online labs, STDTestExpress bills your insurance provider directly, if you choose.
3. Free STD Test Clinic
Chances are, there’s a Free STD test clinic near you. Pretty much all of them test for Syphilis. Touch the link below to locate one near you.
- In the US: Find a Free STD Test Clinic near you (CDC Website)
- In the UK: FPA’s Clinic Locator
- In Canada: CFSH’s Point of Service Locator
- In Australia: MSHC’s STD Services Locator
- In New Zealand: Family Planning Service Finder
What Is Syphilis?
Syphilis is a relatively rare sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the Treponema pallidum bacteria.
Unlike other bacterial STIs like Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, if left untreated Syphilis can cause serious harm to an infected person’s brain, heart and other internal organs. It can also be deadly.
Today, Syphilis is a relatively rare disease in the developed world. According to the CDC, 30,000 to 40,000 cases of syphilis are reported in the United States each year.
How Is Syphillis Transmitted?
Syphilis is transmitted when the infected region touches another person during anal, oral (giving or receiving) and vaginal sex. It cannot be spread through dirty toilets or by casual contact between people. That said,
- Full sexual penetration is not required to transmit Syphilis.
- Any contact with infected fluids can transmit the disease.
- A person infected with Syphilis is considered infectious until the bacteria is thoroughly eliminated.
Since 2000, the number of people contracting syphilis in the U.S. has almost quadrupled, primarily among men who have sex with other men.
Syphillis Risk Factors
People who meet any of the following risk criteria should be regularly tested for Syphilis:
- have had unprotected sex with a person who may have had syphilis
- are pregnant
- are a sex worker
- are incarcerated
- are a man who has sex with men
Symptoms of a Syphilis Infection
Often, the first symptom a person infected with Syphilis notices is a chancre – a small, painless sore – on his/her sexual organs, rectum, or inside the mouth. The chancre may go unnoticed for a while.
Syphilis can be difficult to diagnose without an STD test for the following reasons:
- An infected person can go years without developing serious and noticeable symptoms.
- If a person develops symptoms, they occur in stages. One stage involves a complete lack of symptoms.
Four Stages of a Syphilis Infection
- Primary Syphilis: small and painless chancres develop near the point of contact. These sores are are extremely contagious. On average, the sore shows up around three weeks after infection, but it can take between 10 and 90 days. The sore remains for anywhere between two and six weeks.
- Secondary Syphilis: skin rashes and sore throats are common. The rash is often on the palm and sole of the foot. The rash does not itch. In addition to a rash, people may experience a range of symptoms including headaches, swollen lymph nodes, fever, aching joints and weight loss.
- Latent Syphilis: primary and secondary symptoms disappear (for a while).
- Tertiary Syphilis: about 30% of people who do not receive treatment will enter this stage. Tertiary syphilis may happen years after initial infection. This is the most serious stage of the disease.
Serious Health Risks Related to Syphilis
The following serious health issues can occur if Syphilis reaches the fourth, tertiary, stage:
- heart disease
- brain infection
- mental illness
- memory loss