Resuming Sex After Syphilis Treatment: How Long Should You Wait?

Syphilis is a multi-stage, sexually transmitted infection that affects thousands of people every year. While this condition is curable with the proper treatments, it can be painful and embarrassing for those who experience it. Some patients even wonder if resuming sex after syphilis treatment is safe.

At Rapid STD Testing, we help patients test and treat their syphilis so they can get back to doing the things they love. Our team explains everything you need to know about this condition and when it’s okay to resume sex. Once you finish reading, schedule a rapid STD test at a clinic near you. 

Treatment for Syphilis: Understanding the Condition

Syphilis is a highly contagious STD that comes from the bacteria Treponema pallidum. Patients can transmit these bacteria through bodily fluids during oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse. Doctors identify four stages of syphilis, each with distinct complications:

  • Primary Stage
  • Secondary Stage
  • Early Latent Stage
  • Late Latent Stage

Most people do not experience the symptoms of untreated syphilis until about a month after exposure.  

Primary Stage

During the first stage of symptoms, the infected person may notice a red sore develop on the mouth or genitals. In some cases, these ulcers are painless. However, severe infections may cause multiple sores to appear and become irritated. 

Initially, many people mistake syphilis for cold sores. Sometimes their symptoms disappear without treatment. However, bacteria may still live around the affected area. 

Patients should avoid sexual intercourse until they receive a negative test result from a clinic like Rapid STD Testing.

Secondary Stage

The secondary stage generally begins within 90 days of exposure and causes more discomfort for the patient. Skin rashes and open lesions may become persistent and spread across the skin. It is also common to see the lymph nodes swell during this stage.

Latent Stages (Early and Late)

Latent syphilis can occur any time after the secondary stage and show no visible symptoms. Patients not receiving treatment may wrongfully assume they have recovered from their infection. Unfortunately, these people are still contagious, and their symptoms can reappear at any time for up to 30 years.

Treatment Methods

In past centuries, complications with syphilis were much more lethal. Today, antibacterial treatment for syphilis significantly reduces its mortality rate. In the last several decades, this infection contributed to the deaths of around 7,000 adult men and women.

A doctor can recommend treatment for syphilis after the patient receives a positive test result. A 10-panel STD test will identify this infection, among other diseases that may be present. Clinicians will determine an effective treatment plan according to the severity of the patient’s symptoms.

Doctors can inject antibiotic treatments into the skin to eliminate Treponema pallidum at the source. Syphilis is a curable infection for those who continue taking their prescribed medication. However, patients who neglect these responsibilities are sometimes unable to remedy their conditions. 

Like other forms of bacteria, syphilis can build resistance to some antibiotics. This problem generally occurs when patients are not consistent with treatments. Patients with resistant syphilis can experience worsened symptoms over time.

How Long Is Syphilis Contagious After Treatment? When Can Patients Resume Sex?

So when is resuming sex after syphilis treatment safe? Even during the last days of treatment, the risk of transmission still exists. You should always wait until after this period before engaging in sexual activities.

Some doctors say patients can begin having sex seven days after final treatment. However, most experts recommend waiting at least 14 days. This method gives the body time to eliminate harmful bacteria.

Depending on when you began taking medication, you could expect symptoms to last no more than a few weeks. Ask a doctor if you notice your sores are not disappearing. In this case, other treatment options may be necessary.

Many people wrongly think that having sex after the initiation of treatment is safe as long as they use protection. However, this misconception can lead to dangerous consequences. Syphilis travels through saliva and vaginal fluids, which can threaten exposed skin. 

People who have overcome syphilis are not immune to reinfection. Treponema pallidum is a resilient form of bacteria to which the human body has no natural immunity. It’s best to avoid skin-on-skin contact until you are sure the bacteria are no longer transmissible.

You may still wonder, “How many days after treatment is syphilis contagious?” At Rapid STD Testing, we recommend visiting a clinic if you are unsure when resuming sex after syphilis treatment is appropriate. A medical consultant can administer a rapid test to determine if the bacteria still pose a threat. 

Prevention and Control of Syphilis

Preventing the spread of syphilis is much easier today, thanks to modern medicine. Most people can avoid these problems simply by practicing safe sex.

Reducing your number of sexual partners is one way to lower the risk of transmission. Additionally, it may help to avoid having sex with partners who do not check themselves for STDs every three to twelve months.

If you worry that you may have contracted syphilis during risky intercourse, you can prevent the spread of infection with medication. Taking two tablets of doxycycline twice a day for two weeks could reduce the chances of contracting syphilis by up to 73%. Unfortunately, this medication is not suitable for pregnant women.

Penicillin is also incredibly effective against syphilis. A single injection of Benzathine penicillin G could cure the early stages of the infection quickly. However, a doctor may recommend a higher dose if it has been over a year since your last positive test.

If you are allergic to penicillin, you can take four tetracycline tablets a day for similar results. Your doctor will review your medical history and determine which prescriptions are best for you.

Although you can still contract syphilis when using condoms or dental dams, protection significantly reduces the risk of transmission. Invest in durable products that will not tear easily during intercourse.

One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of syphilis is to be honest with your sexual partners. Discussing boundaries and concerns about sexually transmitted diseases can prevent you from engaging in dangerous behavior.

Avoid engaging in sexual activity under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These substances can hinder your ability to make safe decisions and consent.

Remember to test yourself for sexually transmitted infections every few months. Even if you experience no symptoms, these tests are a great way to stay informed about your health. Rapid STD Testing makes the process easy by helping you find a clinic in your area.

Health care providers can offer more information about avoiding syphilis and what to do if you receive a positive diagnosis.

Get Tested Today

Rapid STD Testing offers a safe and reliable way to keep track of your health. Our confidential service allows you to schedule an exam in advance and speak with medical consultants openly during your visit. We also offer same-day STD testing for emergencies.

Learn more about resuming sex after syphilis treatment with Rapid STD Testing. Call 866-872-1888.