Syphilis is a bacterial infection which can lead to serious illnesses.
How you get it
Through unprotected (condomless) vaginal or anal penetrative sex, or oral sex.
A sore to start with, and later a rash and flu-like symptoms.
The only way to know for sure if you have syphilis is to get tested, which involves a small blood sample.
You can get tested at your local sexual health clinic or GP.
Can be cured with antibiotics. If let untreated, it can lead to damage of the heart, joint or nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerves).
The best way to prevent you becoming infected with syphilis is to use a condom when having sex.
Reduce the risk of a condom bursting by:
making sure it's properly unrolled
squeezing the air out of the 'teat' before putting it on
keeping your fingernails short and smooth
using lube suitable for use with condoms
never using oils, oil-based lubricants, or oily foodstuffs during sex
The risks from oral sex can be reduced if you:
always use a fresh condom
avoid oral sex if there are any signs of infection
avoid oral sex if the person giving it has any cuts or sores in their mouth