[Question #6169] Primary Syphilis Symptoms

17 months ago
Hello.  A couple of weeks ago I engaged in very brief (30 seconds) receptive oral sex from another male.  I had a condom on throughout.  The only other contact was me briefly (15 seconds) licking his testicles and the skin just behind them (not the anus). Tip of tongue only. I know that syphilis transmission is remote in this case.  Two days ago I did notice a small cut inside my lower tip and my dentist (teeth cleaning) said it looked like I had bitten it.  It is healing up already.  What sort of sore and its evolution would I notice in the mouth if syphilis was transmitted (albeit extraordinarily rare) in this scenario?  How long would it last before healing up?  Should I be in the least bit scared to kiss anyone? Thank you!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  I'll do my best to help.  The lesion you describe does not sound at all like a syphilitic lesion and the exposure you describe would not put you at risk for syphilis.  To develop a syphilitic lesion, the location of the lesion must have DIRECT contact with a syphilis lesion.  The lesions are obvious, both visually and have a different feeling than normal tissue.  Touching another person's genitalia with the tip of your tongue would not lead to syphilis.  When syphilis lesions occur, they occur, on average, about three weeks after the contact, are painless, open sores, and without treatment take several weeks to heal.  They are typically at least a half inch in diameter.  I would not worry that the sore your dentist noticed was a syphilitic lesion and would not worry about kissing another person.  If the sore persists without healing, I would suggest having it evaluated, preferably by an ear, nose and throat specialist.  EWH
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17 months ago
Thank you very much.  Ver reassuring.  I assume that your opinion here would extend to the tongue tip also briefing touching the area in between the genitalia and anus? (perineum?).  I think I know your answer, so forgive me if I'm being a little too paranoid about this.  
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago
Correct, my reply was intended to include the tongue tip touching the perineal area.  EWH
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17 months ago
Dr, just so I know, if I did happen to see the beginnings of a mouth chancre, how long do you have to wait from that point to be tested for syphilis?  Last question.   
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago
Blood tests for Syphilis are typically positive 2-3 days after the sore (chancre) becomes visible and are always positive by 5-6 days after appearance.

As this is my 3rd response, as per forum guidelines, this thread will now be closed.  I hope the information I have provided has been helpful.  Please don't worry. EWH
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