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Syphilis: Treatment and monitoring

Charles B Hicks, MD
Meredith Clement, MD
Section Editor
Noreen A Hynes, MD, MPH, DTM&H
Deputy Editor
Jennifer Mitty, MD, MPH


Syphilis is an infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. During the initial phase of infection, the organism disseminates widely, setting the stage for subsequent manifestations. If untreated, syphilis can have a number of significant late adverse outcomes, including cardiovascular, gummatous, and neurologic complications. The management of syphilis is based upon its classification into stages of disease: early syphilis (includes primary, secondary, and early latent syphilis); late (includes late latent, cardiovascular, and gummatous syphilis); and neurosyphilis (includes central nervous system disease and ocular syphilis at any time).

The treatment of syphilis in nonpregnant adults and patient monitoring after treatment will be reviewed here. Other topics related to the treatment of syphilis are discussed elsewhere:

(See "Syphilis: Screening and diagnostic testing".)

(See "Syphilis: Epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical manifestations in HIV-uninfected patients".)

(See "Neurosyphilis".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 15, 2017.
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