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What is a Chancre?

A chancre is a painless sore that forms on the genitals or the vagina, in and around the anus, or in and around the mouth during the early stages of the sexually transmitted infection syphilis. If you have direct contact with one of these ulcers during oral, vaginal, or anal sex, you’re at risk of getting syphilis.

What Does it Look Like?

In the primary stage of syphilis, you might develop one or more chancres at the site of transmission. They’re typically round, hard, and don’t cause pain. For this reason, they often go unnoticed initially, particularly if they form in hard-to-detect areas such as in the vagina or anus.

How Long Does it Last?

Chancres can persist for three to six weeks before healing on their own. If you don’t see a healthcare provider to test for and treat the infection, it can progress to the second phase of syphilis (rashes or sores on the skin, mouth, genitals, or anus) within weeks.

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If you have chancres indicative of early syphilis, your medical provider can administer an antibiotic like benzathine penicillin to prevent the disease from progressing to more severe stages.

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