Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. You can catch it during vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner. It is typical for syphilis to cause painless sores during the early stages of infection. If it is left untreated, it can spread to various organs and cause severe complications. Early treatment is essential to prevent syphilis from causing serious damage to your inner organs and brain.
It’s never been easier to test for an STI. You can now get self-test kits for several different STIs – including syphilis – online, or get testing from your GP, or at your local pharmacy.
Last reviewed: 14/5/2020 by Dr Simran Deo
|Syphilis Test Kit||1 Test Kit||£42.00|
Click & Collect: free (available for next-day collection in Superdrug Pharmacies)
Next Day Delivery: £3.99
Dispensing and standard delivery included.
Ordering is quick and simple:
To carry out the home test follow these steps:
In some cases, the doctor may need to ask for more information. They may contact you by phone, so make sure your telephone number is up to date in your online account.
Syphilis is a blood-borne sexually transmitted infection, that you can catch by having sex with an infected partner. It’s also passed on when people share needles or unwashed sex toys, when one person is infected.
Typical early-stage symptoms of syphilis are a rash and painful red sores (known as ‘chancres’) around the mouth or genital areas (your penis, vagina, or anus). However, the symptoms or signs of syphilis aren’t always visible, and some other STIs won’t show any symptoms at all.
Syphilis is easily treated by a short course of antibiotics. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications related to your heart, brain, and other organs. If you think you may have been infected, book a test or start your online consultation right away.
This is a safe, easy test you can use to test yourself for syphilis, without needing to visit a clinic.
The test requires a blood sample and the kit contains all the apparatus required to draw a small blood sample as well as instructions on how to carry this out most effectively. After you’re done, simply post the sample back to the lab using the prepaid return envelope provided.
The syphilis home testing service from Superdrug Online Doctor is quick, reliable, and completely confidential. You will get your results within 2–3 days of your sample reaching the lab. Once your results are available our doctors will review them and send them to you via a secure and confidential message in your online patient account.
In some cases if the doctor needs more information, they may contact you by phone. Make sure your telephone number is up to date in your online account. Our doctors are available to offer advice and further support if needed.
If you have had unprotected sex or close physical (genital) contact with someone you know was infected by syphilis, or you think that you might have the infection for any other reason, you should get tested. You should also think about testing for other STIs.
When to test
Retest at 3 months
Syphilis can only be accurately detected 3–6 weeks after the episode of unprotected sex you’re concerned about. You should then retest at 3 months. Although it’s important to detect and get treated for STIs as soon as possible, testing too soon can lead to an incorrect result which may mean a diagnosis is missed and the infection is left untreated. The quicker you catch syphilis, the easier it is to treat.
Your syphilis self-test kit contains a finger prick test consisting of three small lancets and a collection tube. Wash your hands with warm soapy water and dry them thoroughly, before taking your sample. Use either the 3rd or 4th finger on your non-writing hand, cleaning it with the alcotip swab provided.
If you are squeamish, or anxious at the sight of blood, you may need a friend to help you. Twist and pull out the purple stick from one of the lancets. Place it on your fingertip and press the button at the end. A small drop of blood should form as the skin of your fingertip is punctured. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work the first time, you have three lancets to try in total.
Use a clean tissue to wipe the first drop away, and gently massage the side of your finger until another drop forms, using your other hand to do this. Catch the blood inside the collection tube. Fill the tube to the upper line, using an additional lancet on another finger if you need to.
Once you’re done, screw the lid to securely close the collection tube, and use the plaster provided to stop your fingertip from bleeding. Write your details clearly on the label provided in the pack and stick it to the sample tube, which you should place into the protective wallet, and then inside the prepaid envelope, along with any used lancets. Post this envelope at any UK post box or post office, and safely discard any unused parts of the test.
Syphilis can lead to serious health complications if left untreated, but it’s easily treated with antibiotics, either with a single injection or a short course or tablets, depending on when you caught the STI. To get treatment you need to go to your local sexual health clinic.
During treatment, you may experience flu-like symptoms (feeling hot and achey). These are common side effects from the medication and shouldn’t last long. Avoid any form of sexual contact for at least 2 weeks after you finish your course of treatment to prevent the return of infection.
The best advice after having treatment for syphilis is to have another test after 3 months, and wait until your results show that you are clear from infection before enjoying sexual activity again.
Remember – any recent sexual partners will also be at risk. They should all be checked for infection. If you don’t feel comfortable telling them yourself, you can ask your local sexual health clinic to contact them instead.
If you get a negative result after being potentially exposed to syphilis, you should get tested again 13 weeks after the incident to make sure that any recent syphilis infections are detected.
It is important to get regular STI tests and to practice safe sex all the time, to avoid infections in the future.
If your self-test kit comes back as positive for syphilis, contact your GP or local sexual health clinic to get treatment. You should also have a full test for all other STIs, which you can do with our home test kits, or through your GP or local sexual health clinic.