By Sister Diana Nirvana
What is the Syphilis?
It’s not an ancient Egyptian snake God, or a Harry Potter character… the Syphilis never appeared on Buffy, and you can’t find it, you know, like Jesus. In fact, without a microscope, you can’t find it at all: the Syphilis must be hunted down by its tracks!
So… what is The Syphilis?
The Syphilis is an STD born of the Treponema pallidum bacterium, often known as the “great imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases. This can make it difficult to catch the Syphilis on purpose, but be warned, it could sneak up on you most unexpectedly!
I’ve found the Syphilis, now how do I catch it?
The Syphilis is caught through direct contact with infected sores often found on dicks, pussies, and assholes… yep, I mean your boss and co-workers! When inspecting potential sources, always examine the equipment for sores, rashes, lesions, and rust spots; people are not always honest about their success at catching the Syphilis and you don’t want to be mislead about your chances.
The Conspiracy of Lies:
People might tell you that you can catch the Syphilis through contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, shared clothing, eating utensils, or simply by sharing a body of water with an infected individual, but it’s all lies meant to misdirect your hunt. Believe none of it, and persevere with direct bodily contact… like, direct bodily contact. I don’t care how OCD you are, you have to take off your gloves and condom.
Did I catch it?
Maybe, maybe not. Check your equipment, but don’t trust your eyes, many people who’ve caught it fail to show symptoms for years. But don’t worry, continue neglecting yourself care and you’ll get the Signs of the Syphilis sooner or later, and then you’ll be able to share it with all your friends and relatives! If you still think your hunt was a failure, check closer: many who have caught the Syphilis overlook such signs as ulcers on the labia, cervix, anal area, or in the mouth because they’re painless and not easily visible. Or better yet, consult a doctor: only an STD test can say for sure whether you’ve caught the Syphilis or are still one of the many failed hunters searching their body inch-by-inch in the desperate hope that that hooker they kissed three years ago gave it to them.
The Syphilis first manifests as painless chancres about 2-3 weeks after infection, and then disappears in another 4-6 weeks. This is the hardest stage to hunt as the sores aren’t sore, and are often small and difficult to locate. Careful examination is necessary.
Developing 2-8 weeks after the formation of chancres, this stage of the Syphilis shows itself as a skin rash which varies in appearance and frequently inhabits the palms of the hands and soles of the feet–convincing a potential source that you have a foot fetish can be useful in confirming second stage syphilis. Mucous patches may also form on the mouth, vagina, or penis, and moist, warty patches (yum!) may develop on the genitalia or skin folds. The Syphilis (v2) may also cause fever, general ill feeling, loss of appetite (an added bonus for all you anorexics!), muscle aches, joint pain, enlarged lymph nodes, and hair loss (just think, wigs every day!).
No, I didn’t add this just as an excuse to use the word tertiary, the Syphilis really does have a third stage, and it’s the best of them all! Here you get infections in your brain, nervous system, heart, skin, and bones. Particularly delightful lesions in the central nervous system produce nerosyphilis which includes such exciting conditions as tabes (no, not the kind on your web browser), dorsalis, general paresis, and optical atrophy (your partners always look good–or at least indistinct). Lesions of the heart are less cool, but not to be overlooked as they can lead to aneurysms, valvular heart disease, and aortitis. Sadly, condemnation by modern society and so called advances in treatment often prevent the Syphilis from achieving this level of excellence.
Absolute confirmation of your catch can be made by a pair of blood tests to detect chemicals released by the bacteria. This process begins with a VDRL or RPR test, and if it proves positive, is followed by an FTA-ABS test. Only after this second test shows positive do you know for certain that you’ve caught the Syphilis.
Syphilis is not for everyone, and sometimes we make mistakes–you know, like buying your grandma a DVD instead of a VHS cassette, letting your friends talk you into going sky-diving, or catching a potentially fatal infectious disease, and there’s always something you can do about it… except maybe sky-diving. For the Syphilis, the return policy is called Medical Treatment, and is even slower than the UPS. See, first you have to get antibiotics, usually penicillin or doxycycline with follow-up blood tests at 3-6 months, sometimes even longer, and you only know you’re cured after passing two tests! And here you thought returning that microwave ’cause it was too small was a hassle!
Oh, and I mustn’t forget the added bonus:
Sometimes initial treatment results in a Jerish-Herxheimer reaction, with symptoms like a fever, chills, headaches, nausea (not much fun unless you happen to be an emetophiliac…Google it…), general ill feelings, joint aches, and muscle aches. It usually only lasts 24 hours, but still, wouldn’t you rather just keep the Syphilis you spent so much time and energy acquiring?
The Syphilis is a reportable infection, which means once you let your doctor know they have to report it to public health authorities so that anyone you might have gifted it to can be notified (especially fun when you take this call on speaker phone) and told to get treatment.
For more tips on catching The Syphilis, check out the following sites: