Prevention and Treatment

No vaccine against syphilis is currently available. Monogamous relationships, condoms, and other safer sex practices decrease the risk of contracting the disease. Prompt identification and treatment of sexual contacts are important in limiting spread of the disease. Primary and secondary syphilis are effectively treated with an antibiotic such as penicillin. Treatment must be continued for a longer period for tertiary syphilis, however, probably because most of the organisms are not actively multiplying.

Table 25.11 summarizes the main features of syphilis. Chancroid

Chancroid is another bacterial sexually transmitted disease that showed a marked increase in frequency, reaching 5,000 reported cases in 1988, followed by a progressive decline to the lowest frequency in decades. Although widespread in the United States, it is not commonly reported. It is another STD with genital sores that promote the spread of AIDS.

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