Is it possible I have syphilis?

Patient

Q: I found a sore around the base of my penis. I immediately thought syphilis. The weird thing is I've only been masturbating. I don't want to get myself checked. If it helps at all, I get headaches slightly often.

Doctor

A:   The Syphilis is a venereal disease, a STD ( sexual transmitted disease) caused by infection with a spirochete called: Treponema pallidum. It is transmitted by having sexual contact with an infected individual; it can also be acquired via exposure to infected blood. T pallidum is able to cross the placenta in pregnant women and result in fetal infection. When syphilis is left untreated, ( the treatment is with penicillin) it  progresses through 4 stages: primary (when you see the sores), secondary, latent, and tertiary or neurosyphilis. Known as a great imitator, syphilis can be a diagnostic challenge because of its wide-ranging clinical presentations.

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