Syphilis is a bacterial infection spread through sexual contact. The infection is categorized into four main stages: primary, secondary, latent and tertiary; with primary being the first stage and secondary occurring if treatment isn’t received during the primary stage - this is ultimately what's known as secondary syphilis [1].

See also: Syphilis: Causes and Symptoms

Secondary syphilis symptoms

The signs and symptoms of syphilis are dependent on the stage. While the primary stage is typically associated with a small, painless sore, secondary syphilis symptoms tend to appear while this sore is healing or sometimes weeks after it has healed [2].

Some of the most common secondary syphilis symptoms include:

  • Skin rash
  • Sores in the mouth, genitals or anus
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever

See also: Can Syphilis Cause Long Term Damage?

Secondary syphilis treatment

Although it’s possible for the signs and symptoms of secondary syphilis to go away on its own, it’s important to receive treatment to avoid the infection progressing any further into the latent or tertiary stage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the most common medications prescribed is Benzathine penicillin [3]. If you have a penicillin allergy, there are alternatives that can be taken.

See also: Can Syphilis be Cured?

One of the most reliable ways to know more about your sexual health to ensure both you and your partner remain happy and healthy is with a lab test - this can be done with your doctor or from home at a time that suits you.

LetsGetChecked’s range of at-home STI Tests check for some of the most common sexually transmitted infections - including syphilis. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our medical team will be available every step of the way.

It’s important to consider taking a test if:

  • You should also consider getting tested if:
  • You become sexually active
  • You have had unprotected sex
  • You are experiencing symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection
  • You are entering into a new sexual relationship
  • You have received a notification from a previous partner that they are infected (STIs can remain dormant for years and/ or take up to three weeks to become detectable.)

See also: How do you Check for STDs From Home?


  1. Mayo Clinic. Syphilis. Online:, 2019
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Syphilis - STD Fact Sheet. Online:, 2017
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Syphilis - STD Fact Sheet. Online:, 2017