Testing, Treatment, and Reinfection.

Testing

Looking after your sexual health is important, and getting regular sexual health check-ups are a vital part of this. You should aim to get a sexual health check-up once every 3 months – especially if you change partners. You should get a sexual health check-up immediately if you have been told that a sexual partner has syphilis.

A check-up may involve:

Blood Sample

Usually completed through the use of a simple blood test.

Swab

If you have sores, the clinician may swab/ask you to use a cotton swab to obtain a sample – this is done by rubbing the swab on the sore.

Syphilis Rapid Test

These tests involve taking a small amount of blood from your fingertip (with a finger prick). Results from these tests are available in around 20 minutes.*

If you have had a previous syphilis infection, syphilis antibodies will always show (reactive) positive on a rapid test. For this reason, if you do have a reactive rapid test, it’s necessary to do a follow-up test for syphilis via a blood sample.

Where to get a sexual health check up.

There are a lot of free clinics throughout Queensland (with or without Medicare) – to find these free clinics, please click here.

For a full list of sexual health check-up locations, please click here.

Treatment

The good news is that syphilis is curable.

Treatment for syphilis is usually a one-time injection of antibiotics. However, depending on the stage of infection, a course of treatment may be required.

Medication is free at all public and some private clinics (the consultation may require payment)

It’s important to remember that even if you have been treated for syphilis, it is possible to become reinfected if you are exposed to the infection again. You don’t become immune.

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