Pls Help - Syphilis testing question:


Hi Dr. Bob,

About 14 months ago I had unprotected exposure and have been distraught ever since. I was so fearful of HIV i had tests done out to 10 months and have finally gotten over my fears it... Many thanks to you as a big part of getting me through it.

However I was not worried about syphilis... which I now think I may have.. I had many of the symptoms of syphilis early on, and am now sufferring from sores on my tongue, pins and needles in my arms & legs and frequent headaches. My wife had many symptoms as well,, (she knows about the whole situation and we are trying to get past it, but symptoms are keeping us scared). She is currently sufferring from unexplained hairloss & thinning and has had swollen lymph nodes for some time now. Here are some questions, please answer them and help us to get past my horrible mistake:

  1. I had 3 RPR testes done, 10days, 4weeks, 9 weeks.. All negative. Should this be conclusive or is there a longer window period?

  2. I read that a rash on hands and feet is common symptom. Neither me nor my wife had this.. How common is it?

  3. How contageous is syphilis.. If i had one exposure.. And have had only one unprotected exposure to my wife since the incident.. What are the odds that we both have it now?

  4. What are other more specific tests I can request at 14 months post exposure to rule out syphilis?

  5. Any other possibilities that could be causing some of these syptoms?

Your work is invaluable to so many people. I will be sending what I can as a donation. I owe you more than that, but it is the least I can do!

Thank you sincerely for your help!



  1. Conclusive.

  2. As you read, it's "common!" Exactly how common is irrelevant. Common is common!

  3. Syphilis, if you have an open lesion, can be highly contagious. What are the odds you and your wife have it? Nonexistent. Your nine-week RPR is negative, remember?

  4. None is needed.

  5. Sure lots, but listing them here would only be counterproductive and you would most likely just transfer your unwarranted worries to a new disease target. Talk to your doctor if you have "syptoms" (or symptoms, for that matter). There is an excellent chance all of your problems are related to stress and anxiety.

Thanks for your donation.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob