Syphilis can be spread through all manner of sexual encounters and oral sex is one of them.
Startling statistics from 2016 show that gay and bisexual men make up 90 percent of new syphilis infections in London and that London’s rate is three times higher than the rest of England – so syphilis is clearly a very infectious disease.
Syphilis can be spread by vaginal, oral and anal sex or genital contact with an infected person. Most cases of syphilis are treatable with antibiotics and it is preventable through safer sex practices which include using condoms, regularly being tested and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships.
Speaking to THEGAYUK.com Doctor Rick Viney said, “It’s very easy to contract syphilis in this way (through oral) It will present with an obvious ulcer on a mucosal surface in the mouth but will be painless”.
How do you know that you have syphilis?
There are no specific symptoms for syphilis. There will be the presence of one or more painless but highly infectious sores (primary infection) which appear at the site of infection. These sores disappear within two to six weeks in the absence of treatment.
Secondary symptoms may develop six weeks to six months after the initial sores. Later symptoms are highly variable, but may include a rash on the palms or soles.
Late syphilis occurs four or more years after an untreated primary infection. Complications may occur in the mucocutaneous tissue, heart, respiratory tract or central nervous system.
How is syphilis diagnosed?
Syphilis can be diagnosed via a simple blood test, which can be provided at a sexual health clinic.
How can you protect against syphilis?
Syphilis is preventable with the use of condoms when having sex – vaginal, anal and oral. You can use dental dams for oral sex. Regular sexual health screening will also help combat the spread.