What does latent syphilis mean?
Latent syphilis is defined as syphilis characterized by seroreactivity without other evidence of primary, secondary, or tertiary disease. Persons who have latent syphilis and who acquired syphilis during the preceding year are classified as having early latent syphilis (early nonprimary, nonsecondary).
Does latent syphilis go away?
The latent stage may last for many years or, in fact, for the remainder of the person’s life. In some untreated patients, however, progression to tertiary syphilis occurs.
How long is the latent period for syphilis?
Incubation can last from 10 to 90 days with an average incubation period of 21 days. During this period, the serologic testing for syphilis will be non-reactive but known contacts to early syphilis (that have been exposed within the past 90 days) should be preventatively treated.
Can latent syphilis become active?
The disease starts as a painless sore — typically on the genitals, rectum or mouth. Syphilis spreads from person to person via skin or mucous membrane contact with these sores. After the initial infection, the syphilis bacteria can remain inactive in the body for decades before becoming active again.
Can you test positive for latent syphilis?
Latent syphilis can only be diagnosed by serological tests. In fact, in North America, the majority of syphilis cases are identified at the latent stage by serological tests. The sensitivity and specificity of serological tests vary depending on the type of test and stage of the disease (Table 1).
How do I know if I have latent syphilis?
One stage — latent syphilis — doesn’t have symptoms. Painless sores appear at the site of infection (mouth, anus, rectum, vagina, or penis). These are called chancres. The sores heal on their own after 3 to 6 weeks, but you can still spread syphilis.
What happens to patients with untreated latent syphilis?
Untreated syphilis can lead to permanent damage to multiple body systems such as the brain, heart, and eyes and result in life-threatening complications. Syphilis can be cured completely in the initial stages with antibiotics (Penicillin). Timely treatment can help prevent complications.
Can you have syphilis for years without knowing?
Syphilis can remain hidden for many years in the latent stage. Tertiary stage syphilis is very serious. It can begin after you’ve had untreated syphilis for a while, possibly many years—even if you never noticed symptoms.
Can you test negative for syphilis and still have it?
A negative test result is considered normal. However, the body does not always produce antibodies specifically in response to the syphilis bacteria, so the test is not always accurate. False-negatives may occur in people with early- and late-stage syphilis. More testing may be needed before ruling out syphilis.
Can I test positive for syphilis and my partner negative?
A: It is quite common for one partner to test positive and the other negative, even if they have been having sex without condoms. Mostly this is explained by luck and the role of other risk factors.
How do you tell how long you’ve had syphilis?
Blood tests can tell if your body is making the antibodies to fight the infection. The ones that fight syphilis bacteria can stay in your body for years, so your doctor can tell if you were infected, even if it were a long time ago.