Print version ISSN 0123-9392
Objective. To describe the epidemiology, clinical classification, diagnosis, and treatment of syphilis. Materials and methods. Using syphilis, lues, and sexually transmitted diseases as key words, information was sought in the databases such as Pubmed/Medline, Cochrane, SciELO, as well as in journal articles and text references, mainly from the last five years. The result of this search yielded 179 references; the most relevant, 36, were taken for analysis, mainly metaanalysis, review or state of the art articles,and double-blinded, andomized studies and clinical guides. Results. Primary syphilis is the first stage of the infection, which causes painless ulcers 2 to 3 weeks after first infection. The infected person may not notice those lesions or any other symptoms, particularly if ulcers are located inside the rectum or the cervix. Ulcers disappear over a 4 to 6 week period. Secondary syphilis is presented from 2 to 8 weeks after the appearance of the first ulcers. About 33% of those who do not receive treatment for primary syphilis develop this second stage of the disease. The final stage of syphilis is called tertiary syphilis and infection may disseminate to the nervous system, the heart, the skin and the bones. Conclusion. Condom use is essential to reduce the risk of acquiring the disease.Once acquired, an effective treatment must be administered to prevent brain, heart and nervous system complications.
Keywords : syphilis; lues; sexually transmitted diseases.