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Video:What is Syphilis?

with Dr. Bob Lahita

Syphilis can be a potentially fatal sexually transmitted disease, which can appear differently in men and women. Watch this About.com video to learn more about syphilis.See Transcript

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Transcript:What is Syphilis?

Hi I'm Dr. Bob Lahita, the Chairman of Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and I'm talking to you about syphilis.

Syphilis is a Sexually Transmitted Disease

Syphilis has been around for hundreds of years. It is extremely serious. The organism's actual name is treponema palidum. It is sexually transmitted. And there is something called primary syphilis, and then secondary syphilis and tertiary syphilis. Primary syphilis is the one that we are most likely to face and that results in both women and men having ulcers- usually painless ulcers that are called chancres.

How Syphilis Occurs

Now, syphilis can occur in any orifice depending on the type of sexual relations that are practiced.In a usual male case of syphilis, an ulcer or chancre occurs on the shaft of the penis or at the tip of the penis which is painless. This can occur at the orifice of the vagina in a female. It can also occur in the throat in someone who's having oral sex, it can also occur in the rectal mucosa in someone who is having rectal intercourse.

Tertiary Syphilis

Tertiary syphilis is a very, very severe form of the disease. It is the end stage of the disease and requires very aggressive therapy. Tertiary syphilis results in an infection of the brain which can be quite serious with a disturbed gait and inability of a person to walk and function normally.Secondary syphilis can also be quite severe but is more readily treated and has less of clinical manifestations than does tertiary syphilis When syphilis is allowed to progress to the tertiary stage, it can be fatal in a very rapid fashion. For more information about this, go to About.com.

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