Syphilis can go undetected, experts warn


Posted at Jun 29 2012 02:14 AM | Updated as of Jun 29 2012 07:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Experts warn that syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), may be undetectable in its primary stage.

Dermatologist Dr. Joyce Castillo said early stages of syphilis can go undetected because the disease may only appear as a sore on a person’s mouth or sexual organ.

“Minsan butlig lang siya tapos nag-uuka after a few weeks. Tapos nagiging basa siya,” Castillo said in an interview on radio dzMM’s “Magandang Gabi Dok” on Thursday.

Castillo said syphilis has been dubbed the “great impostor” because its symptoms are similar to various skin conditions.

She warned that although the sore may disappear after a few weeks without treatment, it does not mean the person has been cured.


After getting sores, a person who has contracted syphilis may have flu-like symptoms which should be treated immediately, said Dr. Ivan Singzon. 

Singzon said this is the second stage of the disease.

“They think okay na ako, usually after a couple of months, pero biglang lalabas na ang rashes, pwede magka-sore throat, nagkakalagnat na,” he said.

Doctors said that in the late stages, syphilis can affect a person’s vital organs, which may lead to death.


To avoid contracting the disease, doctors suggest the use of condoms when having sexual intercourse, and stick to only one partner.

They said the chances of acquiring the STD increases with multiple sex partners.

Those who are not sure if they have it, meanwhile, may get a simple blood test for verification.