- Syphilis and Women Fact Sheet (PDF)
Fact sheet answering frequently asked questions about syphilis and women.
|Minnesota Women, Syphilis is on the rise: Get Tested (pregnancy card) (PDF)
This 5.5" x 8.5" card reminds pregnant women to get tested for syphilis.
Important information for women
- Syphilis is spread by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
- Sores can be found on the penis, vagina, anus, rectum, lips, or in the mouth.
- Syphilis can also be passed from an infected woman to her unborn baby.
Complications: Congenital syphilis
Untreated syphilis during pregnancy may spread to the developing baby. This is called congenital syphilis. Congenital syphilis can cause:
- Premature birth (baby being born too early) or stillborn birth (baby being born dead).
- Health problems like cataracts, deafness, seizures, or death.
- Severe damage to bones, brain, lungs, liver, and other organs.
Syphilis prevention for women
- The only way to completely avoid getting syphilis or other STDs is to not have anal, oral, or vaginal sex.
- If you are sexually active you can reduce your chances of getting syphilis by:
- Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
- Condoms prevent the spread of syphilis by preventing contact with a sore. Sometimes sores can occur in areas not covered by a condom, so you could still get syphilis from contact with these sores, even if you are wearing a condom.
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results.
- Washing your genitals, urinating, or douching after sex will not protect you.
- Having syphilis once does not protect you from getting it again. Once you have been successfully treated, you can be re-infected.
Testing and treatment
Get tested regularly.
- You can get a test from a health care provider, or your family doctor.
- Getting Tested for STDs and HIV
Resources for finding STD testing clinics in your area.
Always notify sex partners immediately if you are infected. It is important to make sure all partners are tested and treated.
- STD/HIV Partner Services Program
The MDH STD/HIV Partner Services Program will work with you so that your partner can be informed about their potential exposure in a sensitive and private way.