[Question #6281] syphilis question

19 months ago
hello doctors:

i had a syphilis test for the first time recently which was negative.

2 and 4 years ago i was prescribed amoxicillin for minor medical stuff, i think 7 days each time.

i am heterosexual, early 50s, circumcised, and have had some insertive unprotected oral 4-10 years ago from females in the usa.

could i have been infected with syphilis, never had symptoms of any kind, been cured by the amoxicillin making my current tests negative?  need i be concerned about having been infected or infecting someone?  is this scenario plausible or in the lighting strike do not be concerned category?

my GP told me that the low dosage of amox would not have cured syphilis (he said they use penicillin in larger dosages to treat both early and later syphilis) had i had it, so my negative test now proves i never had it.

can i take that as fact?
19 months ago
i should add that i am the type of person who inspects and touches my penis often, i really think i would have noticed chancres if they ever appeared.
19 months ago
incidentally, i called the clinic where the test was administered, a well known std clinic, and they agreed with my GP.   guess i am just trying to be absolutely sure.   thank you. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
19 months ago

Welcome to our Forum. I'll be glad to comment and thank you for you confidence in our Forum.  As I read your questions I find myself wondering why you are now worried bout the possibility of syphilis?  Is something going on that worries you?

By way of background, syphilis is a relatively rare disease here in the United States and the likelihood of a heterosexual American acquiring the infection is generically quite low.  Syphilis is also rather easily cured.  No one knows precisely what the minimal effective dose of antibiotics is to cure syphilis.  The bacteria which causes syphilis is exquisitely sensitive to penicillin and related drugs, even in low doses, as long as the medicine is given long enough (somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-10 days) syphilis will be readily cured. 

Regarding your question- could you have had syphilis in the past?, the answer is that it is unlikely but the best answer depends on what sort of test you had.  Some tests are more likely to provide evidence of past syphilis than others. 

Hope these comments are helpful. In general, the likelihood that you acquired syphilis years ag o is quite unlikely.  If you did, the likelihood that you were inadvertently successfully treated with amoxicillin given for other reasons is unlikely and is probably not something worth worrying about if your syphilis blood tests are currently negative.  EWH

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19 months ago
thank you. 

nothing is going on right now but guilt. 

the idea of having been infected and passed along to my partner weighs heavily.   but seeing as though you, my GP and the clinic agree that my current negative test, i think RPR is what they gave, is negative and means i was never infected regardless of the amoxicillin i was given is nothing. i should worry about is all i need to hear. 

thank you again, it means a lot. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
19 months ago
Glad I can help.  Hope you will be able to move forward.  EWH
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18 months ago
as unluck would have it i have again worried about this.  if i understand what i have been told, there is no chance i could have been infected and infected my wife 4-8 years ago from the exposures mentioned earlier?  syphilis is my only last concern — what are the chances i got it, never noticed it, passed it along, she never noticed it, and then i tested negative for it?

i guess the amox is scaring me in that it could have cured it and made my test negative when i could have had it?  

is this scenario even plausible?  is this a classic example of guilt and anxiety trumping science in my own mind?

would you be concerned if you were somehow in my shoes?

thanks for your help!
18 months ago
perhaps a simple: nothing to worry about, please don’t worry would be all i need!   

thanks again.  
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
18 months ago
I'm sorry that your guilt over your past dalliance continues to worry you.  The scenario you describe is not plausible.  there is really nothing to worry about here.  EWH
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