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Syphilis in Teens

The first symptom of syphilis is a painless open sore that usually shows up on the penis, in the vagina or mouth, or on the skin around the rectum or genitals. Untreated syphilis may go on to more advanced stages. These include a rash. Over time it can cause problems with the heart and central nervous system.

Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. If a pregnant woman has untreated syphilis, the disease can cause dangerous, even fatal, problems for the baby. The way congenital syphilis affects the baby depends on how long the woman has had the disease and if or when she was treated for the infection. This form of syphilis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or death of the baby shortly after birth. Untreated babies that do survive will likely develop serious multiple organ problems of the brain, heart, eyes and ears.


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Frequently Asked Questions

About Syphilis

What is syphilis?

How common is syphilis?

Who is most likely to get syphilis?

How do I know if I have syphilis?


How do you get syphilis?

How can I keep from getting syphilis?

How can I keep from spreading syphilis?


Can syphilis be treated? How do I get rid of it?

What can happen if I don't get treatment for syphilis?

How do I get tested for syphilis?

How often should I get tested for syphilis?

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Infectious Diseases Treatment at Children's National Hospital

Our Division of Infectious Diseases is the major referral center for infectious diseases in the Washington, D.C., area, helping thousands of young patients each year with contagious conditions. Discover more about the treatments we offer.

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Molly's Story

Meet the Providers Who Treat Syphilis

Departments that Treat Syphilis

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Children's National Heart Center

Our expert pediatric heart team, including more than 40 subspecialties, offer advanced heart care and excellent outcomes for thousands of children every year.