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The Intersections Between Syphilis and HIV

syphilis and hiv

The Intersections Between Syphilis and HIV. Two of the most common infections known today are syphilis and HIV. Both of them are acquired primarily through unsafe sex. When a diagnosis is given in either of these two infections, immediate treatment is necessary to prevent severe health complications.

What are syphilis and HIV? How are these two infections connected? What are the symptoms of these conditions? And lastly, what are the treatment options available for people with these infections?

HIV is one of the world’s most life-threatening infections. Also known as the human immunodeficiency virus, this infection can progress to AIDS, paving the way for opportunistic diseases to cause more harm to the body. The use of antiretroviral therapy is necessary for preventing the virus from replicating.

Meanwhile, syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can be treated using antibiotics. It has four stages, such as primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Urgent medical care is necessary for people with this infection as serious health complications can show up.


How are these infections related?

One of the symptoms associated with syphilis is the appearance of sores. This makes it easier for the human immunodeficiency virus to enter the body and attack the immune system. The infection can also increase HIV’s viral load within the body. It boosts HIV’s ability to multiply and make more copies of itself.

When coinfection occurs between syphilis and HIV, the risk of acquiring further health problems is increased. One of the complications linked with syphilis is neurosyphilis, a condition which severely affects the nervous system. Its symptoms include dementia and recurrent headaches.

Individuals who are diagnosed with HIV are also at risk of getting neurosyphilis. This explains how coinfections can happen, with symptoms and bodily reactions that need immediate medical attention.

Besides the emergence of health complications, the treatment provided for syphilis can be ineffective for individuals with HIV. Since HIV attacks the immune system, syphilis treatment can become less potent and insufficient.



Blood testing is performed to identify if a person has these infections. There are two types of tests performed to diagnose syphilis. These tests are nontreponemal tests and treponemal tests. Meanwhile, to diagnose HIV, blood tests include NAT (nucleic acid tests), antigen/antibody tests), and antibody tests. These tests have already been proven effective; however, if an inaccurate result comes out, a follow check or blood test is necessary.



Consider the symptoms of both infections. If you experience these, report them to your doctor immediately.


  • Swollen glands
  • Rashes
  • Fever or chills
  • Weakness
  • Sores
  • Inflammations
  • Dementia
  • Stroke
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat


  • Recurrent fever
  • Headaches
  • Rashes
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in the muscles
  • Swollen glands



Antiretroviral drugs are used to treat the human immunodeficiency virus. There are different varieties of ARV drugs today that HIV-positive individuals can use. However, a prescription from the doctor is still necessary.

Meanwhile, antibiotics are used in treating syphilis. While providing medical care for people with this condition can be easy, treatment can still be difficult if coinfections occur with HIV.



What are the necessary things to do to prevent syphilis and HIV? Since these are all sexually transmitted infections, engaging in safer sex is the answer. Use condoms when engaging in any form of sexual activity. If you are sexually active, get yourself tested and checked regularly. Knowing your status plays a vital role in living healthily.

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