Stop Syphilis

Illustration of a boot footprint with Stomp Out Syphilis text on top

Syphilis infections across the country and North Carolina continue to rise.

What is syphilis?

  • Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterium. 
  • Anyone who has any kind of sex without protection can get syphilis. 
  • You might be more likely to get syphilis if you: 
    • Hook up online 
    • Have more than one partner 
    • Have another STD or HIV 
    • Are a man having sex with other men 
  • Syphilis is curable with the right treatment. See your doctor or go to the local health department to get tested and treated right away. 
  • You can get syphilis more than once, so use protection

How does syphilis spread?

  • Syphilis is spread through sex: vaginal, anal, and oral. 
  • Syphilis is a "skin to skin" disease.  It can pass from person to person when a syphilis sore (chancre) touches another person's skin. 
  • If a woman is pregnant, she can pass syphilis to her unborn child, which can sometimes make the baby be born early or stillborn (dead). 


What are the symptoms of syphilis?

  • A painless sore (chancre) – sometimes you can't see the sore.
  • Skin rash that doesn't itch.
  • Some people don't have any symptoms they can see or feel.

What happens if syphilis is not treated?

Untreated syphilis can cause:

  • Blindness
  • Paralysis (not being able to move parts of your body)
  • Damage to the brain, heart bones, nerves, liver, blood vessels
  • Death

Remember: Syphilis is curable with the right treatment. See your doctor or go to the local health department to get tested and treated right away.

Information for YOU

Reduce your risk

You can reduce your risk of getting syphilis by: 

  • Not having any kind of sex with anyone. 
  • Having sex with only one uninfected person who is only having sex with you. 
  • Asking your partner(s) about STDs and HIV before having sex. 
  • Using a condom the right way every time you have sex (learn how male condom/learn how female condom). 
  • Using a dental dam for oral sex 

Get tested for HIV/STDs

Wake County Health & Human Services has trained counselors who provide HIV/STD testing at community locations throughout Wake County. 

Get free condoms

The Condom Distribution Sites Program provides free condoms and information at some barber shops, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, laundry mats, markets, and other local businesses across Wake County. 

Talk to us

Main Phone: 919-250-4510 

Counseling and Testing: 919-250-3950 

Health Education:  919-250-3883 

Visit us on Facebook:     

Email us at:

Information for Healthcare Providers

Wake County continues to address the rise in numbers of people with syphilis by: 

  • Encouraging syphilis testing for high risk groups and pregnant women; 
  • Providing target testing, outreach, education and condoms in areas of the community where more people are being identified as positive for syphilis; 
  • Providing testing and other information through social media sites;  
  • Providing treatment for people with syphilis and their known partners; and  
  • Coordinating and sharing information with healthcare and community partners as well as other health departments in the region.