What partners do I need to notify?
It depends on what stage of syphilis you have when you are diagnosed. Your Public Health Nurse can help you to figure this out. Your Public Health Nurse can notify your partners for you. They will let your partners know that they have been in contact with someone who has syphilis and therefore they need to go to be tested and possibly treated as soon as possible. This is completely anonymous – the partners will never know any details about who they were in contact with, when or where.
How often do I need to get tested?
It is a good idea to have regular testing if you have any risk factors. Some risk factors are:
- lack of protection during oral sex and rimming (using protection for all sexual activities will reduce your risk)
- multiple sex partners – anonymous and / or casual partners (limiting the number of partners will reduce your risk). If you have multiple sex partners, you should be tested for syphilis every 3 to 6 months.
- history of HIV (if you have HIV and get syphilis, the syphilis disease process may progress more rapidly)
- contact with someone who has been diagnosed with syphilis
- ulcers in your / your partner’s genital area and / or mouth (don’t have sexual contact if ulcers are present)
I have been told that I have recently been exposed to syphilis but my syphilis test is negative. Does that mean that I don’t have syphilis?
This blood test can be falsely negative in early syphilis. If you have symptoms or if you have been notified as a contact of someone who tested positive, then you should have another test done in one month.
Should I be tested for anything else?
Because you were concerned enough to be tested for syphilis, you should also be tested for other STIs – Chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV. There are several options for you to get this done – your own family doctor, any walk in clinic, the STD Clinic at the QEII, Halifax Sexual Health Centre, university health centre for any students, or the prideHealth nurse (Anita Keeping - 220-0643).
What do I tell my partner?
Syphilis is curable, but should be treated as soon as possible. Your partner(s) will need to know to be tested and / or treated immediately. It is very important to be honest with your sexual partners. Your partners should be tested as soon as possible to avoid long-term health complications. Your Public Health Nurse can help you notify your partners – done anonymously.
What can I expect when I go to the STD Clinic?
The Clinic is located at the VG – 5th floor of the Dickson Centre. The clinic operates on Monday and Thursday evenings only. Registration opens at 4:30pm – you are registered and seen by clinic staff on a first come basis. You don’t need an appointment. The Clinic operates in a very confidential manner. Your name will not be used following the registration process – you will be given a number that will be used during your Clinic time. A physician and a registered nurse will see you in a private consultation room. Any tests / reports done at this clinic will not be shared with your family physician unless you give your permission. There is no charge for treatment at this Clinic.
The clinic may fill up quickly so go early and expect a bit of a wait.