eg. How do you approach an STD test with a new partner?

Resuming Sex After Syphilis Treatment: How Long Should You Wait?

Published on April 28th, 2023

At STD Questions & Answers, we understand that dealing with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) can be stressful and confusing. Once you have received syphilis treatment, you may wonder when it is safe to resume sexual activity and how to prevent future infections. In this article, we provide evidence-based answers to common questions about resuming sex after syphilis treatment.

How Long Does It Take for Syphilis Treatment to Work?

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can be cured with antibiotics. The standard treatment is a single injection of penicillin, which is highly effective in killing the bacteria. However, the healing process takes time, and you need to wait until the infection is completely gone before having sex again.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the time it takes for syphilis treatment to work depends on the stage of the infection. If you have primary, secondary, or early latent syphilis, you should avoid sexual contact for at least 7 days after receiving the injection. If you have late latent syphilis or syphilis of unknown duration, you should wait for at least 14 days after the injection.

It is essential to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure that your syphilis treatment is successful. If you have any symptoms or concerns, do not hesitate to contact your provider.

What Are the Risks of Resuming Sex Too Soon?

If you have sex before your syphilis treatment has fully worked, you can still transmit the infection to your partner(s) and may need to receive additional treatment. Moreover, having sex before the infection has completely cleared can also increase the risk of reinfection and complications, such as neurosyphilis.

Neurosyphilis is a rare but serious complication of syphilis that can affect the brain, spinal cord, and other organs. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including headaches, vision problems, memory loss, and even death. If you experience any of these symptoms after syphilis treatment, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

How Can You Prevent Future Syphilis Infections?

Syphilis is a preventable infection, and the best way to avoid it is by practicing safe sex. This means using condoms or dental dams correctly and consistently, especially if you have multiple partners or engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.

In addition to using protection, you can also get tested regularly for STIs, including syphilis. The CDC recommends that sexually active individuals get tested at least once a year and more frequently if they have a new partner, multiple partners, or unprotected sex.

It is also essential to communicate openly and honestly with your partners about your sexual health and any past or current STIs. By working together, you can reduce the risk of syphilis and other STIs and enjoy a healthy and fulfilling sex life.

How Can You Cope With the Emotional Impact of Syphilis?

Dealing with syphilis can be emotionally challenging, and you may experience a range of feelings, such as shame, guilt, anxiety, and depression. It is important to know that these feelings are normal and valid and that you are not alone.

Seeking support from a trusted friend, family member, or counselor can help you cope with the emotional impact of syphilis. You can also join a support group or online forum for people living with STIs to connect with others who understand what you are going through.

It is crucial to prioritize self-care and practice healthy coping strategies, such as exercise, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques. Remember that syphilis does not define you, and you deserve love, respect, and acceptance regardless of your health status.


Resuming sex after syphilis treatment requires patience, communication, and safe practices. Remember to wait for the recommended period before having sex again, use protection consistently, get tested regularly, and talk to your partners about STIs. If you need information or testing, online STD testing is always an option.

We understand that syphilis can be a challenging experience, and we are committed to providing compassionate and evidence-based care to all our patients. If you have any questions or concerns about syphilis treatment, prevention, or coping, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Together, we can promote sexual health and well-being and reduce the impact of STIs on individuals, communities, and society.

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