[Question #7040] Syphilis—Probably unfounded fear

9 months ago
About 1.5 years ago I had protected sex with a transsexual escort.  Protected anal and oral.   I’m married and I revealed this to my partner.  4 days after my exposure I went to Planned Parenthood and was given treatment for gonorrhea and syphilis.. They also tested me and I tested negative at the time.  Test was 4 days after exposure so just showed I did not already have it.  I did not return for further tests.  1.5 years later my spouse is having vertigo and headaches for 4 months.  ENT and therapists have no diagnosis.  Is there any chance that this is syphilis?  I know it can cause these types of symptoms.  My question is whether I should have my partner get tested or not.   
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
9 months ago

Welcome to the Forum and thanks for your question.  I can assure you that your wife's vertigo is not due to syphilis that you acquired through your misstep 1.5 years ago and transmitted to her.  You received treatment for chlamydia and gonorrhea 4 days after your exposure and recommended therapy for these infections would prevent development of syphilis.  It typically takes about three weeks between acquisition of infection and the ability to transmit infection to others so your gonorrhea/chlamydia therapy would have been well before this happened.  No need for concern that you have syphilis as a result of the encounter you describe.

I hope that this information is helpful.  If anything is unclear or there are additional questions about this exposure, please feel free to use your up to two follow-ups for clarification.  EWH

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9 months ago
Thanks.   Assumed as much but wanted to confirm.  
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
9 months ago
Glad i could help.  EWH
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