Can You Get Syphilis From Kissing?
Syphilis is a chronic and contagious bacterial disease that is spread, mainly, through sexual contact and intercourse. It plays itself out in four separate stages and if left untreated, can do serious and irreparable damage to your body. Similar to sexual contact, french kissing entails the swapping of fluids from one person to another. Therefore, the risk of infection is exceptionally high, especially when factoring in the intensity of the kissing. In order to outline whether or not you can catch syphilis from kissing, we can go through each of the bacteria’s phases.
There are four stages:
It’s important to note that the symptoms don’t always occur in the same order, and they may possibly overlap throughout the stages. Syphilis is complicated, so being aware of these stages of infection is very important for the stability of your health.
At Which Stages Can You Catch Syphilis From Kissing
The Primary and Secondary stages of syphilis are when the symptoms of the infection are most active and most contagious. During these stages, sores in the mouth may grow, secrete, and pop with mucous and pus that can infect an individual if the moist membranes of their mouths come in contact with exposed sores. The heavier the kissing, the more apt someone is to either spread the infection or catch the infection.
A person’s symptoms can appear anywhere from 10-90 days after initial infection so if you think you may have come in contact with the infection, it’s important to seek medical attention. During these two early stages, the infection is contagious and may expose itself even further through skin rashes and lesions. During these early phases of the infection, the disease is contagious and those infected may have symptoms that don’t strike any action or proactive treatment. For those reasons, always be aware of who and what you’re touching during sexual intercourse or foreplay.
During the latent and tertiary phases of syphilis infection, the symptoms move under the surface and begin to affect the inner systems of the body. Infection is only visible to blood tests and can remain in your body for the rest of your life. However, during the latent stage, the infection is still contagious. That means that kissing can still put you at risk of contracting the infection from someone that is infected.
If the infection makes it to the last phase, you risk irreversible damage and harm to your organs and your nervous system. So much so that you risk dementia, neurosyphilis, and death. Although extremely harmful, this stage is rarely reached. At this point in someone’s infection, it’s rare to be swapping spit or having deep kisses. Keep in mind other forms on contact like shaking hands and touching in general. Regardless, if you have contact with someone in any of their phases of syphilis infection, be ready to get tested and make sure your safe from infection. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, or have seriously kissed anyone with those symptoms, contact myLAB Box™ for a testing kit today.
- Xin Yu, Heyi Zheng. Syphilitic Chancre of the Lips Transmitted by Kissing: A Case Report and Review of the Literature. (2016). Medicine.
- Catarina Queirós, João Borges da Costa. Oral Transmission of Sexually Transmissable Infections: A Narrative Review. (2019). Acta médica portuguesa.
- Luciana Rocha Strieder, Jorge Esquiche León, Yasmin Rodarte Carvalho, Estela Kaminagakura. Oral syphilis: report of three cases and characterization of the inflammatory cells. (2015). Annals of Diagnostic Pathology.
- Eric P F Chow, Vincent J Cornelisse, Deborah A Williamson, David Priest, Jane S Hocking, Catriona S Bradshaw, Tim R H Read, Marcus Y Chen, Benjamin P Howden, Christopher K Fairley. (2019). Kissing may be an important and neglected risk factor for oropharyngeal gonorrhoea: a cross-sectional study in men who have sex with men. Epidemiology.
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