​Syphilis infections across the country and North Carolina are increasing. The number of residents of Wake County infected with syphilis in the last 12 months is at a 15-year high. stomp out syphilis.png

Fast Facts about Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacteria.

Anyone who has any kind of sex without protection can get syphilis.

You might be more likely to get syphilis if you:

  • Hook up online
  • Have more than one partner
  • Have another STD or HIV
  • Are a man having sex with other men

Syphilis is curable with the right treatment. See your doctor or go to the local health department to get tested and treated right away.

You can get syphilis more than once, so use protection.

How does syphilis spread?

Syphilis is spread through sex: vaginal, anal, and oral.

Syphilis is a "skin to skin" disease.  It can pass from person to person when a syphilis sore (chancre) touches another person's skin.

If a woman is pregnant, she can pass syphilis to her unborn child, which can sometimes make the baby be born early or stillborn (dead).

Symptoms of syphilis

A painless sore (chancre) - sometimes you can't see the sore

Skin rash that doesn't itch

Some people don't have any symptoms they can see or feel


What happens if syphilis is not treated?

Untreated syphilis can cause:

  • Blindness
  • Paralysis (not being able to move parts of your body)
  • Damage to the brain, heart bones, nerves, liver, blood vessels
  • Death

Remember - Syphilis is curable with the right treatment. See your doctor or go to the local health department to get tested and treated right away.

Information for YOU

You can reduce your risk of getting Syphilis by:

  • Not having any kind of sex with anyone.
  • Having sex with only one uninfected person who is only having sex with you.
  • Asking your partner(s) about STDs and HIV before having sex.
  • Using a condom the right way every time you have sex (learn how).
  • Using a dental dam for oral sex.

Get Tested for HIV/STDs

Wake County Human Services has trained counselors who provide HIV/STD testing at community locations throughout Wake County. 

Get Free Condoms 

The CDS program provides free condoms and information at some barber shops, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, laundry mats, markets, and other local businesses across Wake County.

Get Information in Writing

Syphilis Awareness

Syphilis Awareness (Spanish - Conocimiento de la Sífilis)

Talk to Us!

Main Phone:                    919-250-4510

Counseling and Testing:  919-250-3950

Health Education:            919-250-3883

Visit us on Facebook:      www.facebook.com/wakegovhiv

Email us at:                      STD.Program@wakegov.com

Information for Healthcare Providers

What Wake County is doing about the increasing number of people with syphilis:

  • We are meeting with health care providers to encourage syphilis testing for high risk groups and pregnant women.
  • We are providing targeted testing, outreach, education and condoms in areas of the community where more people are being identified as positive for syphilis.
  • We are providing testing and other information through social media sites.
  • We are providing treatment for people with syphilis and their known partners.
  • We are coordinating and sharing information with healthcare and community partners as well as other health departments in the region.