Syphilis test

A syphilis test usually involves having a blood test, although occasionally a swab can identify if you have been infected. Rates of syphilis infection are on the rise, underlining the importance of both safe sex and regular testing.

Treatment is fairly straightforward, and involves an injection of penicillin or a course of antibiotic tablets.

If you have had unprotected sex, you may have been at risk of acquiring syphilis—please attend one of our sexual health clinics for a syphilis test. If left untreated, syphilis can eventually lead to heart problems, paralysis and brain damage.

Symptoms of syphilis

Syphilis often does not cause any symptoms at all and is commonly only picked up from a blood test. It is a multisystem disease but some of the more common symptoms of syphilis include:

  • ulcer(s) on the mouth, genitals or anus
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • skin rash
  • flu-like symptoms
  • mild fever
  • patchy hair loss

Types of syphilis tests

A syphilis test usually involves a blood test. If a person presents with a genital ulcer, in addition, viewing a swab taken from the ulcer under a microscopy can also diagnose syphilis.

It can take up to three months after infection for a blood test to show a positive result so if you test within three months, and the test is negative, it is advisable to return again for a repeat test at a later date.

Testing for syphilis

We provide syphilis testing free of charge to anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to the disease. You can book an appointment for the syphilis test or attend one of our walk-in sexual health clinics. These clinics also offer a wide range of other sexual health services.

Book an appointment

T: 020 3315 6699 (CW)
T: 020 8321 5718 (WM)

Mon: 8:30am–5:30pm
Tue: 8:30am–5:30pm
Wed: 11am–5:30pm
Thu: 8:30am–5:30pm
Fri: 8:30am–5pm
Sat/Sun: closed


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