The primary stage starts within the first 3 to 12 weeks after a person gets infected. Symptoms include the appearance of a painless open sore or ulcer called a chancre typically on the penis, inside the rectum or in the vagina. The brownish-red chancre can also appear inside the oral cavity or on the tongue. The chancre is full of a clear fluid that is highly contagious because it contains syphilis-causing bacteria. The chancre will heal with or without treatment after 1 to 5 weeks period.
The secondary stage starts about 2 to 7 months after getting infected with syphilis when the other symptoms slowly begin to appear. Secondary syphilis is characterized by the appearance of multiple sores on the penis, anus, within the throat and oral cavity or surrounding the mouth, which cannot be easily detected. Other symptoms include appearance of copper colored lesions, rashes and spots (on the body, palms and the soles of the feet), alopecia (temporary loss of patches of hair), and white patches on your tongue, mucous patches, and multiple white warts on the genitals. All these symptoms disappear after a brief period of time.
The third stage of syphilis known as the latent stage occurs years after the primary and secondary stages of syphilis. During this stage there are no obvious symptoms to indicate that the syphilis infection is still present in the infected individual’s body.
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