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What is Latent Syphilis?

Latent syphilis is often called the hidden stage of syphilis because no signs or symptoms of the disease will be present during this stage. Latent syphilis can last for years and as long as syphilis remains untreated, the person will remain infected, regardless of whether they are experiencing any symptoms.

Early and Late Latent Syphilis

The latent phase of syphilis can be broken up into two categories: early and late. An infection may be referred to as early latent syphilis if it was contracted within 12 months of the original infection occurring. It will be referred to as late latent syphilis if it has been more than 12 months since the original infection occurred.


Even though you experience a lack of symptoms, you are still contagious during the latent stage. While no symptoms may be present, the bacteria are still in your body and can cause damage to your organs, such as your heart, brain, bones, and other systems. Once diagnosed, syphilis is treated with antiobiotics but the damage already caused by the bacteria cannot be reversed. It is important that you and your partner seek treatment as soon as possible if you think you have syphilis.

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