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Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by bacteria.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


Your symptoms may not go away, or they may come back. If you are pregnant, you can have a miscarriage or your baby could die shortly after birth. Without treatment, you can develop secondary or late syphilis. Late syphilis can be life-threatening.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.


  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines decrease pain and lower a fever. They are available without a doctor's order. Ask your caregiver which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. These medicines can cause stomach bleeding if not taken correctly. Ibuprofen can cause kidney damage. Do not take ibuprofen if you have kidney disease, an ulcer, or allergies to aspirin. Too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage. Do not drink alcohol if you take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

  • Antibiotic: This is given to kill the bacteria that caused your syphilis. It is usually given as a shot. You may need more than one dose.


  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about your infection. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • Wound culture: Your caregiver may take a sample of tissue or fluid from the sore. This will give caregivers information about your infection.

  • Spinal fluid exam: You may need a spinal fluid exam if you have late syphilis. This procedure is also called a spinal tap or lumbar puncture. During this procedure, you will need to lie very still. Caregivers may give you medicine to make you numb in a small area of your back. Caregivers will clean this area of your back. A needle will be put in, and fluid removed from around your spinal cord. The fluid will be sent to a lab for tests. The tests check for infection and damage to your brain or spinal cord.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Syphilis (Inpatient Care)