It’s been a minute since I’ve posted…busy and ting but really, I should make time to sit down and post regardless of a gruelling schedule or the need to sleep.
With that being said I have made a small pact to myself…
I intend to post at least once a week with a view to posting more….please note the operative word; intend!
Anyhoos, let’s get to it….
I read a disturbing article the other day, it spoke about syphilis being on the rise again.
Stats taken from last year (2018), show the disease is at the highest it has ever been in the last 70 years!
This is massively concerning because surely these stats should be reducing, what with the overall understanding of STIs and the several ways to protect oneself.
So what the hell is syphilis and exactly what are we dealing with here?
OK let’s have a quick history lesson.
Imagine, syphilis has been a human issue for roughly 500 years with the earliest documented cases of the disease dating back to 15th century Europe.
One theory is; syphilis was brought from America by the crews of Christopher Columbus and other explorers.
It is thought that the disease was not always a sexually transmitted one as researchers found bone markings commonly attributed to syphilis and its diseases on the fossilised bones of young individuals at pre-Colombian sites.
This idea suggests that once the disease was brought back to Europe by explorers, the syphilis bacterium may have evolved to the strain of syphilis we have today.
Another theory is, syphilis was already present in Europe before Columbus and his explorers returned but because of the wide range of symptoms that can present itself, physicians may not have realised they were in fact dealing with the disease.
In the 1520s, it was understood that ksyphilis was spread through sexual contact even though its origin still could not be established.
In an attempt to eradicate the disease, restrictions were placed on brothels and places of prostitution.
Interestingly, syphilis and other STIs posed a huge threat to World War I soldiers thus becoming the second most common reason for a soldier to be discharged.
Negro male what?
Fast forward to the 20th century and the piss taking Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male began!
This study was initiated by the United States Public Health Service.
They literally thought it was an acceptable idea to infect black men with the disease and see what would happen if it was left untreated because of course, black people mean nothing….
Don’t piss me off!
Anyway, by 1972 the experiment ended and out of court settlements were made to the surviving participants as well as a formal apology from Bill Clinton who was indeed President at that time.
I can’t deal…
What was learnt from this study you ask?
Only God knows and to be honest, I am not sure if I even want to know details – it’s disgusting to know this even happened, so let’s move on!
So what about now?
Syphilis doesn’t always show any symptoms and even if there are any, they can quickly disappear even though the infection remains.
Yep, absolute mind fuck!
But just for the record, the symptoms that may indicate Syphilis, can come in stages.
Early stage Syphilis
Early stage known as ‘primary syphilis’ can include:
- the main symptom is a small, painless sore or ulcer called a chancre that you might not notice
- the sore will typically be on the penis, vagina, or around the anus, although it can sometimes appear in the mouth or on the lips, fingers or buttocks
- most people only have one sore, but some people have several
- you may also have swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpits
These symptoms usually pass within 2 to 8 weeks. But if the infection isn’t treated, it may progress to a second stage.
Further symptoms may develop a few weeks after the initial symptoms have passed. This is known as “secondary syphilis”.
Symptoms of secondary syphilis include:
- a blotchy red rash that can appear anywhere on the body, but often develops on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
- small skin growths (similar to genital warts) – on women these often appear on the vulva and for both men and women they may appear around the anus
- white patches in the mouth
- flu-like symptoms, such as tiredness, headaches, joint pains and a high temperature (fever)
- swollen glands
- occasionally, patchy hair loss
These symptoms usually pass within a few weeks, although they may come and go over several months before they disappear.
You’ll still be infected even if you don’t have symptoms. This is known as “latent syphilis” and it can last for decades and lead to serious problems if not treated.
It’s still possible to pass on the infection during this stage, although this usually only happens within 2 years of becoming infected.
(Information obtained from the NHS website, click HERE for more info)
Isn’t crazy to know that you can get these symptoms and then they can disappear but you can still have syphilis?
It’s worrying because some people may experience some of these symptoms but because they appear to have gone away, they think nothing more of it.
If you are sexually active, it’s essential you stay up to date with regular blood tests and sexual health screenings – it’s not just syphilis you have to concern yourself with!
Visit your GP or sexual health clinic for further advice.
Good news! Syphilis can be treated.
Syphilis will usually be treated with antibiotics regardless of what stage the infection is at.
If left untreated, as a result of the disease spreading around the body, long term health issues can occur in and some cases, it can be fatal.
Not pleasant and probably not desired by anyone…. It’s another reason why waiting is NOT an option.
Let’s keep it sensible people, stay safe!