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Panicking, is neurosyphilis damage reversible?

Dec 22, 2013

Dr. Holodniy, I'm very scared. I'm a 27 year old healthy male, I've only had sex two times - both times were 5 years ago, one time with a woman, one time with a man and I was protected with both. Both were because of experimentation - no libido, no interest in a relationship, and no sex of any kind since then.

Never took a full panel STI test until a week ago and found out I have neurosyphilis - titer was 1:64. What does this mean? Spinal cord fluid was reactive to csf-vdrl and ct scan revealed damage to the brain. I don't remember having any sores or any of the rashes people talk about. The only symptoms I have are some numbness in my toes, some hearing loss, and a few vision problems but I felt like these were just aging so I didn't think anything of it at the time. I'm frustrated with my doctor because he immediately started treatment without explaining what is going on. Internet search results have made me paranoid so I thought you might be able to calmly explain what I can expect.

I'm taking penicillin injections, but I can't stop crying thinking about if the neurosyphilis symptoms won't go away or will get worse because I keep thinking that syphilis is like muscular dystrophy. My anxiety over the diagnosis makes me have horrible diarrhea and I can't concentrate on anything. Is my neurosyphilis damage ever reversible with treatment? If I respond to treatment will I get better?

Merry Christmas

Response from Dr. Holodniy

There are a lot of complexities to your case and the answers to your questions are best handled by the physicians who are overseeing your care. In general, neurosyphilis can be treated and a successful response to treatment is generally seen.

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