Syphilis and HIV infection

Testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) should be done at the same time any sexually transmitted disease (STD) is diagnosed, as well as 3 months and 6 months after diagnosis.

If you have syphilis, talk to your health professional about the additional risk of being infected with HIV. It is very important that you be tested for HIV.

The most effective treatment of HIV-positive individuals who also have syphilis is currently under study. HIV infection makes it harder for antibiotics to treat syphilis. This is why it is important to get checked again after antibiotic treatment.

The genital sores caused by syphilis also make it easier to transmit and acquire HIV infection. Areas of the United States that have the highest rates of syphilis also have the fastest-growing HIV infection rates in childbearing women.

Last Updated: September 30, 2009

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