Syphilis Test




4 -12 hours



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Primary Care & Diagnostics Finalist Award

Syphilis chancre sore treatment

Syphilis is one of the less common sexually transmitted infections in the UK, but the number of cases of new diagnoses has risen significantly in the past decade.

It is an infection which is relatively harmless if caught and treated early, but potentially fatal if left untreated.

Syphilis Explained

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It can also be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth or through blood transfusions.

Syphilis progresses through stages: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Symptoms vary depending on the stage but can include painless sores (known as chancre) on the genitals, skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, and in later stages, serious damage to the heart, brain, and other organs.

Syphilis can be treated effectively with antibiotics if detected early, but untreated syphilis can lead to severe health problems.

Primary Stage Of Syphilis

In the first stage, known as primary syphilis, symptoms usually develop 2–3 weeks after infection. The main symptom is a chancre (a small, painless lesion).

It typically appears on the penis, vagina, or anal area, though it can also develop on or around the mouth, fingers, or buttocks. There may be just one sore or several. Additionally, swollen lymph glands may occur in your neck, underarms, or groin.

This initial stage of infection can last up to 8 weeks. Without treatment, it progresses to the second stage.

Woman doctor taking notes

Secondary Stage Of Syphilis

During the secondary stage of syphilis, various symptoms manifest. These include a rash that can appear anywhere on the body, but commonly on the palms or soles.

Small skin growths resembling genital warts may also develop around the vulva or anus. Inside the mouth, white patches may be observed. Flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, headache, joint pain, and fever can occur.

Additionally, swollen glands and patchy hair loss are typical manifestations during this stage of the infection.

Tertiary Stage Of Syphilis

The tertiary stage of syphilis typically develops over the course of several years and is characterised by systemic and potentially life-threatening symptoms.

These can include:

  • meningitis
  • stroke
  • dementia
  • loss of coordination
  • numbness
  • vision problems or loss
  • heart problems
Woman doctor pointing
Serious doctor with arms crossed

Treatment For Syphilis

Treatment for syphilis is generally straightforward and involves a short course of antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. To receive the appropriate prescription, testing is necessary. The type of antibiotics administered depends on the duration of the infection.

For infections of two years or less, a penicillin injection into the buttock is typically administered. If allergic to penicillin, a 10 – 14 day course of tablets is prescribed.

In cases where the infection has persisted for more than two years, three penicillin injections are given at weekly intervals, or a month-long course of tablets is prescribed.

Following treatment, a blood test is recommended to verify that the infection has been successfully eradicated.

Side Effects Of Treatment

Antibiotics used to treat the infection are generally well-tolerated; however, possible side effects include nausea, diarrhoea, or allergic reactions. It is important to discuss any concerns or symptoms with your healthcare provider.

Remember, knowing that you are receiving treatment and that the infection is being addressed can also provide emotional relief and reduce anxiety associated with untreated syphilis. That is a major win.

Doctor with stethoscope


rise in STI cases among 15-24-year-olds since 2021
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increase in gonorrhoea since 2021
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increase in chlamydia since 2021
increase in syphilis since 2021
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The Next Steps After Testing

Our London based doctors can help you understand any current symptoms and advise on any concerns regarding testing or test results. Please come and see us to discuss any aspect of your sexual health.

  • Negative Result: If you blood test indicates no presence of syphilis antibodies, no further action is typically needed. However, if you have had recent risky behaviour, your healthcare provider might recommend periodic retesting.
  • Positive Result: If the initial blood test is positive, a confirmatory test may be conducted to verify the diagnosis. If confirmed, treatment with antibiotics is prescribed to eliminate the infection.
  • Inconclusive Result: Sometimes, blood tests may yield inconclusive results. In such cases, your healthcare provider may recommend retesting or additional tests to clarify the diagnosis.
  • Pregnancy Considerations: If you are pregnant and test positive for syphilis, it is critical to receive prompt treatment to prevent complications for both you and your baby.

How To Book A Sexual Health Screen Appointment?

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Use our online booking engine or book your test by giving us a call.

Choose your test type

On the online booking engine select the “appointment type” you need.

meet with our experts

You will be seen by one of our friendly doctors or trained clinicians.

The Procedure

preparing for appointment


Generally, no special preparation such as fasting is necessary for a syphilis blood test. You can eat and drink normally before the test. Although, drinking plenty of water before your test helps ensure you are well-hydrated, which can make it easier for a doctor to draw blood.

during the appointment


The test is a simple blood test and overall painless procedure where a blood sample (usually from your arm) is taken by a medical profession and sent for analysis.

post appointment


Results from the syphilis test are typically available soon after testing. If the test indicates that treatment is necessary, our healthcare professionals will discuss the findings with you and prescribe the appropriate treatment regimen.

Why Choose Walk In Clinic For
Sexual Health Screening?

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Experienced doctors & a professional team

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No hidden charges, phlebotomy fees or prescription charges.
Test prices do not include a consultation.


  • 4 – 12 hours turnover time
  • If you have no symptoms and are testing for peace of mind, there is no consultation fee payable.
  • However, if you have any symptoms, please note that a consultation fee is payable of £85 with a specialist nurse or £175 with a GP.

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What is the risk of catching syphilis?
Diagnoses of syphilis increased 61% between 2003 and 2012, with the total number of diagnoses currently being the highest that it’s been since the 1950s. High-risk practices for catching and spreading syphilis include unprotected sex (penetrative and oral), sharing sex toys, and sharing needles. The risks are higher among men who have sex with men.
When was the first known case of syphilis?
The first well-recorded outbreak of the disease we now call syphilis in Europe was in 1495. The disease was much more severe then, with more extreme symptoms and much higher mortality rates. Some blame the European spread of the disease on Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas.
Where does the name ‘syphilis’ come from?
The name was coined by Italian physician and poet Girolamo Fracastoro in a poem dedicated to the disease, in 1530.

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