What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. It is one of the four most important sexually transmitted infections (besideschlamydien, tripper und HIV). No need to worry! This is because syphilis can be both treated and prevented through regular testing. Before we get to your syphilis home test, here are a few facts about syphilis:

💡 Did you know that syphilis is the oldest sexually transmitted disease in the world?

💡 Syphilis is also called “lues” or “hard chancre”

💡A syphilis infection also increases the risk of contracting HIV

💡 Syphilis infections must be reported (reporting is anonymous)

💡 There are currently around 8800 new cases per year in Germany (source: RKI)

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Infection and symptoms of syphilis

Syphilis infection

Infection with syphilis occurs via the mucous membranes or the bloodstream. How can the bacteria get into the body?

Unprotected vaginal and anal sex

The syphilis pathogens are located in the mucous membrane or in the syphilis ulcer and are “rubbed” from one mucous membrane into the other during sex.

Unprotected oral sex

Condoms are often not used here, which facilitates transmission.

Drug use

The use of contaminated syringes increases the risk of syphilis infection.


During pregnancy, the bacterium can be transmitted to the child in the womb and leads either to the death of the fetus or to severe physical and mental malformations in the child. This is why syphilis is routinely tested for during prenatal care.

💡 Good to know: Condoms offer very good protection. However, in rarer cases, the pathogen can also penetrate the skin past the condom, e.g. at the base of the penis.

Syphilis symptoms

How can I tell if I have contracted syphilis? The symptoms of syphilis are often inconspicuous or unspecific, so that they are not noticed by those affected.

In general, however, syphilis infection usually progresses in 3 stages. The special thing is that the transitions between the stages are often completely symptom-free.

Stage 1

approx. 3-6 weeks after infection


Skin ulcers: The classic symptom of syphilis is an ulcer that appears about 3 weeks after sex at the site where the pathogen enters the mucous membrane of the vagina, anus or rectum, or in the mouth, throat or penis. It develops a hard edge, hence the name “hard chancre”.

Some time after the ulcer appears, the surrounding lymph nodes swell.

Stage 2

approx. 4-10 weeks after infection


Treponema pallidum then progressively spreads throughout the body via the bloodstream. At this stage, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Skin rash on the trunk and on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
  • Fever, tiredness, feeling ill
  • Hair loss
  • Wart-like skin changes on the genitals and anus

The symptoms may subside and then return later.

Stage 3

After more than a year, this is referred to as “late syphilis”, which requires longer antibiotic treatment than syphilis diagnosed in the first year. In the case of late syphilis, organ damage (nerves, brain, blood vessels) must also be expected.


Stage 3 rarely occurs nowadays – syphilis is usually diagnosed and treated earlier!

💡 Good to know: Not everyone affected goes through all stages. Sometimes a phase is skipped or goes unnoticed and without (noticeable) symptoms.

The syphilis home test from s.a.m health

Syphilis? No spoilsport in your exciting love life! With s.a.m. Health you get regular security for your sexual pleasure..

Our STI test kit offers you the opportunity to test yourself for syphilis, gonorrhoe, chlamydiand HIV in the comfort of your own home. So you can be absolutely sure!

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📲 Knowing your STI status is sexy

Who should take a syphilis test?

  • People with an active and varied sex life
  • Sex workers
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at greater risk of infection

When should I take a syphilis test?

To be able to reliably detect a syphilis infection, you should wait around 10 weeks (diagnostic window). This is because the pathogens cannot be detected immediately after infection.

Where can I have a syphilis test and how much does it cost?

Medical practice

If symptoms are present, the costs are usually covered by health insurance.

Health authorities and AIDS service organizations

Whether the tests are free of charge or have to be paid for varies from region to region. The best way to find out about the offer and the possible costs is to visit the respective website.

Rapid test at home

You can buy this at the pharmacy. Unfortunately, this type of test is not as reliable in its results. Make sure you read the instructions beforehand.

s.a.m health test

With us, you can do your test at home and send your samples to a laboratory. Before your first test kit, you will receive an explanation of how to use it from medically trained personnel by telephone. Your samples are analyzed in the laboratory according to the latest standards. If the result is positive, we will be there for you and tell you what to do next.

Discounted test kits

✔️ If you meet certain requirements, you will receive test kits for €10

Test procedure for reliable syphilis tests

TPHA-/ TPPA-test

Antibodies are formed after a syphilis infection. Tests such as TPHA and TPPA can detect the pathogens in the blood for life. If these tests are negative and the last risk contact was at least ten weeks ago, there is no syphilis.

RP test

For people with a previous diagnosis of syphilis, there is another test that only reacts if the infection is active. The RPR test detects antibodies that occur in an active syphilis infection that requires treatment.

Syphilis confirmation test

A reactive screening test (TPPA or RPR) does not necessarily mean a reliable diagnosis of syphilis. It is therefore important to have a confirmation test carried out at a doctor’s practice or health authority after a positive addiction test (also for s.a.m. health). Incidentally, the syphilis blood test is called the LSR test in the maternity record and is part of the standard examination.

How can syphilis be treated?

And how do you get rid of syphilis? A syphilis infection is treated with antibiotics. The medication is injected directly into the muscle.

And sex? Yes, we know sex is beautiful! But until the treatment is complete, it is better to avoid it.

💡 Caution: A confirmed syphilis diagnosis must be reported. The laboratory reports the infection to the Robert Koch Institute in pseudonymized form without naming the affected person.

Sexuelle Gesundheit. Dein Weg.

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