Syphilis Treatment and Care
Syphilis can be cured with the right antibiotics. However, treatment will not undo any damage that the infection has already caused.
What is the treatment for syphilis?
There are no home remedies or over-the-counter drugs that will cure syphilis, but syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages. A single intramuscular injection of long acting Benzathine penicillin G (2.4 million units administered intramuscularly) will cure a person who has primary, secondary or early latent syphilis. Three doses of long acting Benzathine penicillin G (2.4 million units administered intramuscularly) at weekly intervals is recommended for individuals with late latent syphilis or latent syphilis of unknown duration. Treatment will kill the syphilis bacterium and prevent further damage, but it will not repair damage already done.
Selection of the appropriate penicillin preparation is important to properly treat and cure syphilis. Combinations of some penicillin preparations (e.g., Bicillin C-R, a combination of benzathine penicillin and procaine penicillin) are not appropriate treatments for syphilis, as these combinations provide inadequate doses of penicillin.
The STI Treatment Guidelines include special considerations for syphilis treatment (e.g., alternatives for those with a penicillin allergy).
Persons who receive syphilis treatment must abstain from sexual contact with new partners until the syphilis sores are completely healed. Persons with syphilis must notify their sex partners so that they also can be tested and receive treatment if necessary.
Treatment Guidelines and Updates
- 2021 STI Treatment Guidelines – Syphilis (July 22, 2021)
Resources for Clinicians
- The Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of Syphilis: An Update and Reviewpdf iconexternal icon – A clinical guidance document for use in the diagnosis and management of syphilis. Based on content from the 2015 CDC STD Treatment Guidelines, and developed by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Infections and the NYC STD Prevention Training Center. (March 2019)
- Syphilis Pocket Guide for Providerspdf icon – A booklet for providers containing need-to-know details on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of syphilis. (November 30, 2017)
- Syphilis Self-Study Moduleexternal icon – An online learning experience that helps users learn how to manage syphilis. Free CME/CNE available. (November 1, 2017)
- Congenital Syphilis Diagnosed Beyond the Neonatal Period in the United States: 2014-2018external icon: New study finds 67 symptomatic infants were diagnosed with congenital syphilis beyond the neonatal period (>28 days) during this time. (August 31, 2021)
- STDs during Pregnancy – Treatment