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Penis to penis rubbing and syphilis
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Penis to penis rubbing and syphilis

    Dear doc, I have already asked in the sub forums but would feel better having asked the pros. My scenario was penis to penis rubbing with a guy that had a potential visible syphilis sore. I noticed a dip/crater on the head of his penis and before engagement, I asked him about it and he said he's always had that, nothing to concern about. It didn't really look like a raw, open sore but I'm still concerned. I definitely touched it by hand, is this a risk scenario? I possibly touched it with my penis as well, during the penis frottage, but don't know for sure. Is this high risk? What are the odds of catching it this way? I've read syphilis is higher in southwestern border states, I live in southern arizona. Now cdc states that to become infected you have to come into direct contact with the sore, but then it also says the organism is passed through anal/vaginal intercourse...two completely different things. I really appreciate your input doc.
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Welcome back to our Forum.  Several comments regarding your post:

Your partner said that the indentation you noted had been there for some time. If so, it was not syphilis but some other thing, perhaps a scar.  Syphilitic lesions go away, even if untreated in a few weeks. Furthermore, you state that the base did not look raw- syphilis chancres would appear raw.  

But, if it was, what then?  Syphilis is spread by direct contact with an infected lesion.  thus, if you rubbed your penis on a partner's syphilis sore, there is a chance that you could get infected.  The same goes if you touched/handled a sore although as noted on the STD Prevention community site, the skin of the hand is less susceptible to infection than the skin of the penis.  

Finally, I do not see any contradiction in the information you got from the CDC web site.  If a sore is present and there is contact during anal or vaginal intercourse, the infection could be spread.  

I hope this helps.  My guess is that your risk of syphilis is very low.  If you did get syphilis (unlikely, as I said, we would expect a new painless sore to appear at a site of contact within 3 weeks of your exposure.  If this does not happen, you have nothing to worry about.    EWH
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  Bless you doc, one last question and I will move along. I've been reading amongst the forums that if in fact direct contact was achieved, it would mean there is a 50/50 chance of infection, is there any truth to this? does it guarantee infection or is it just a possibility? Again thank you for your input.
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Infection is a possiblity, not a certainty by any means.  The risk of infection following direct contact is no higher than a 1 in 3 chance of infection.  EWH
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
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