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Syphilis Symptoms and rashes
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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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Syphilis Symptoms and rashes


August 1st. It was unprotected oral and protected anal. The condom did not break, but I am not sure of the quality as she supplied it. The exposure was with a CSW from west Africa. August 14th I developed severe itching between my toes which was red and blistery. After awhile the itching was gone and replaced by small cluster of redish brown crusty hard dots along one of my toes. 1 month after that I developed 3 small little red/brown dots on the planter surface on each of my feet. They itched like crazy when whenever my feet were moist for the first week. After that the itching went away and the skin was slightly dry and I could peel off the dead skin. But I also had some redish marks on my toes and outside of my foot. My second unprotected exposure lead me to massive stress/anxiety filled research on the internet. During this time I developed full body rash that looked like a sunburn. It is hard to even call it a rash as the skin just seems more flush to the touch almost inflamed, it isn’t raised or itch or appear to be blotchy or dry, and doesn’t increase or decrease in a hot shower and you can only see that my skin is reader when under bright/direct light. My palms don’t seem to have a rash, but are slightly red no sores. I am hoping that my red body rash/burn is more to do with my anxiety and stress. I also have not changed any detergents or come into contact with anything that would cause an allergic reaction.
1. is primary syphilis always present first?Or can it go straight to secondary syphilis?
2. Is primary syphilis easy to catch or can it go unnoticed?
3. Does secondary syphilis ever produce a burning feeling with the rash?
4. Does a syphilis rash have clear markings or can it cover the whole body?
5. I have started using anti fugal powder on my feet and they are looking better, could the antifugal powder help if these were syphilis sores? Right now I am getting lots of skin peeling as well when I use the powder.
7. Does syphilis rash appear on the face?
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300980_tn?1194933000
Welcome back to the Forum.  I will address some of your continuing questions but the real, critical thing you need to know is that while syphilis is unlikely, the rash of syphilis can appear like almost anything.  The way to find out if you have syphilis is to get a syphilis blood test.  If your rash is due to syphilis, your syphilis blood test would be positive at this time

Question for you.  Given your anxiety, it would not surprise me at all to learn that you had taken antibiotics at some point since this began?  have you?  If so, which ones?  Anything for malaria prevention?  For other reasons??  Much of what you describe could be a drug reaction.

Now, as for your questions:

1.  IN most cases of genital syphilis the primary lesion occurs first.  It may be missed because it is painless but in most people with penile exposure, they notice the lesions.
2.  It is unusual not to notice it.  Syphilis is a rather uncommon disease, even in South Africa.
3.  No
4.  A syphilis rash can have almost any appearance.  That is the reason tests are needed for diagnosis
5.  What you describe has many characteristics of fungal infections.  Anti-fungal powder has no effect on syphilis.
6.  Yes

Hope these comments help.  You need to get a syphilis blood test and perhaps to see a dermatologist.  EWH
5 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for your reply.

I have not had any access to proper medical care or treatment. Otherwise I would be banging on a door of a clinic right now. Popping some pills.

I have read on stress and anxiety websites that the burning sensation can be typical in severe stress and fear thinking. Trust me I am there. I have seen pics of scarlet fever and other rashes. They either looked very raised or describe it has sandpaper. You would not know to touch that I had a rash (if that is what i should be calling it). My sign looks like it is tanned and was in the sun, not blotchy at all. And no open sores any where on my body. And it is not like a deep red. If i grab and press hard on my shoulder, i can see my hand print for 3-4 seconds. It is almost like my skin is just sensitive.

As mentioned in another thread I am going to get tested in two weeks time for STI's and HIV and am sure will go to another clinic if this "rash"

1. I do not remember kissing her, and i haven't had any sores in my mouth. My penis was all that contacted her mouth. The condom was on for anal sex.
2. Actually in west africa
3. I definatley have a sun burn feel...so this could be good or bad (lets hope it is anxiety)
4. will be tested start of Nov
5. The fungal powder is making a big difference on my feet. Which is good as that was a worry it would help hide the syphilis symptoms
6. all the pics i have seen have sores or are really blotchy, mine looks like i was just out in the sun and got a tan.

I can imagine how it must be frustrating for these questions, however with internet it quicks the fear and anxiety because you get symptoms for a little bit of everything and are anxious to find relief and understanding.

Are there creams or pills that a person could typically take for a mild rash or skin irritation?
thanks Dr. EWH

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300980_tn?1194933000
This really does not sound like syphilis.  

As far as suggesting a remedy, that would be improper - I have no idea what is going on other than that this unlikely to be an STD .  Efforts to treat this are likely to confuse things when you do get to a doctor..  My advice is to let this run its course.  EWH
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Avatar_m_tn
The body + mind is a messed up thing.
Last night I noticed that I had razor burn like bumps on the side of my neck, but have not shaved for a few days. Hands and feet have a redish hue to them as well and skin feels the same.

My question is I don't know if this or is or is not syphilis, I am scared that it is as it increases the risk of my encounters. What kinda damage will I do to my body if I do not go and get treated for another 2 weeks? If this is from my first encounter then it all started to show around 10 weeks, if this is from my second encounter it started to show after ten days and now 2.3 weeks. I know I should go and run to a clinic to get tested, but it is not as simple as that unfortunately.
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300980_tn?1194933000
Sorry, I really don't know where to go wtih "what ifs" of this sort. EWH
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University of Washington
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