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Syphilis Surge: An alarming rise in cases and the symptoms that can be missed

Without early detection and treatment, Syphilis can "ghost" you for up to 30 years

Long-term complications can be severe and even life threatening.

Concerned about the escalating numbers of syphilis cases in Tampa Bay? You should be. Florida’s sexually transmitted infection rates have skyrocketed nearly 42% reaching their highest levels since 1990.

What is Syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Without early detection and treatment, Syphilis can cause serious health effects.

How Common is Syphilis?
In 2022, 207,255 cases of syphilis were reported which is the greatest number of cases reported since 1950 and an increase of 17.3% since 2021. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are most at risk for experiencing the extreme effects of syphilis.

Understanding Syphilis and its Four Stages

  1. Primary Stage: Characterized by painless sores (chancres) at the infection site, which heal independently but still allow the disease to spread.
  1. Secondary Stage: Includes symptoms like a rough rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, sore throat, hair loss, headaches, and fatigue.
  1. Latent Stage: The bacteria remain alive without symptoms; not contagious in this phase but can still impact various body parts.
  1. Tertiary Stage: Tertiary syphilis is very serious and would occur 10–30 years after your infection began. In tertiary syphilis, the disease damages your internal organs and can result in paralysis or death.

Syphilis is contagious in its first two stages and early latent stage, and can be transmitted via sexual contact or to a baby during pregnancy.

Rapid STI Results in 90 Minutes
If you’re sexually active, get tested every 90-days or as soon as symptoms appear. METRO offers full STI panels with rapid results in about 90 minutes at our Seminole Heights and North St. Pete locations. Schedule online to walk-in, no appointment necessary. 

Stop by any Metro Inclusive Health location for a free sex kit. Condoms can reduce the risk. However, syphilis transmission can occur with lesions not covered by a condom.

Is Syphilis Treatable? 
Yes, but early detection is crucial to prevent serious health complications due to a sustained infection. Symptoms vary and can be deceptive, making regular testing vital to early diagnosis. While syphilis can be cured with antibiotics, treatment cannot reverse the effects of a long-term infection.

Why Choose METRO Inclusive Health?

Expertise in LGBTQ+ Healthcare: With over 30 years of experience, our medical professionals are specially trained to address the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community.

Flexible Payment Options: We accept most major insurances including Medicare and Medicaid and offer self-pay options based on income, ensuring healthcare accessibility for all.

Confidential Consultations: Private and personalized consultations to recommend the best course of action.

Efficient Testing Procedures: Quick blood tests with results available in a few days and same day results at our Seminole Heights and North St. Pete locations. 

To schedule your appointment, call us at 727-321-3854 or online at, select a provider and “STI Testing” from the appointment reason. 

Schedule a Visit at Metro Inclusive Health

METRO accepts most insurances and offers self-pay options.

Contact scheduling at 727-321-3854 for an appointment or to learn more.