You might have heard of the sexually transmissible infection called syphilis, but what you might not know is that there’s currently a syphilis outbreak across Australia.
Men who have sex with men, women of childbearing age, and those living in known outbreak areas are most at risk, including affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Syphilis is a disease caused by a bacteria and it is totally treatable. In fact, with early diagnosis, most people can be completely cured. But we also need to remember it’s a serious disease and over time can cause sores and ulcers, rashes, skin lesions, swollen lymph glands, hair loss, muscle and joint aches, headaches, and fatigue.
And if left untreated, can eventually cause brain infections, dementia, lung and heart failure, blindness and even death.
So how can we stop the rise of syphilis? The best way is to practise safe sex. Use condoms and dental dams, avoid sex if you feel unwell or show symptoms, and get tested regularly.
Remember, people don’t always get symptoms so they don’t always know they have it, which means even regular partners need regular syphilis tests. And if you’re pregnant, early testing is extra important to ensure you don’t pass syphilis onto your baby.
So stay safe, get tested, and have regular health checks.
And don’t fool around with syphilis.