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I doubt you have syphilis but see below. More likely you are experiencing an allergy or contact dermatitis - the soap you wash your clothes or sheets with can affect all the areas you mention.

About Syphilis:

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by a germ called Treponema pallidum. T. pallidum is a spirochete that spreads from a person with a primary or certain secondary symptoms of syphilis by direct contact, causing the primary lesion at the point of contact.

The primary lesion is a painless indurated sore. It generally only lasts from 1 to 3 weeks. The lesion is usally located at the site of sexual contact, usually the mouth, genitals or rectum of the infected individual. The infected person passes this infection to the mouth, genitals or rectum of their partner only while symptomatic. The lesion may not appear until 3 months after the sexual contact, but usually appears within 10 days.

There is often a period of time after the primary lesion has healed where there are no symptoms. This can last from 0 days to 12 weeks.

Secondary syphilis can have many classic presentations. It can be a rash; several different types of maculopapular rashes may appear anywhwere on the body. A classic symptom is a brownish hyperpigmentation on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. Skin rashes from syphilis are not contagious. A moist, bumpy cauliflower-like condition called condyloma lata may also appear. This secondary symptom is highly contagious.

Secondary symptoms may last for 8 weeks; rashes may take longer than this to fully resolve.

Syphilis is treated with penicillin; usually 2.4 million units of long acting penicillin injected into a large muscle.

Syphilis is diagnosed with simple blood tests; an RPR (rapid plasma reagin) test detects the level of antibodies to syphilis present in a blood sample by titering the sample and continuing testing. The relative strength of the antibody response can be an indication of the stage of the disease.

RPR tests are confirmed with a direct test for T. Pallidum.

A person diagnosed with syphilis will usually be interviewed by a public health professional for sexual contacts during and immediately before the likely date of infection. The disease is very predictable and given good information on interview a source is likely to be identified as well as potential spreads.

One of the worst outcomes for a case of syphilis is the passing of syphilis from an untreated pregnant woman to her unborn baby. Congenital syphilis infections are treatable but may cause permanent effects prior to birth.

If you feel you may have syphilis; if you know you have been with someone who has syphilis; if you live in an area with high syphilis rates and are sexually active you may want to visit your local public health clinic for a screening test. At the very least you should see a doctor if you are losing sleep over the rash you describe.

2011-09-13 14:25:09
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