As with all sexually transmitted diseases, the most effective response to syphilis is prevention. To avoid syphilis, do the following:
- Be careful about choosing a sex partner and find out about his or her health and sexual history before engaging in a sexual relationship. Have sex only if the person has no apparent signs of infection and is willing to assure your protection during sexual intimacy. Be prepared to talk and inquire about past experiences. Be direct and persistent. Make conversations about health a natural part of the sexual relationship.
- Limit the number of people you have sex with. The risk of contracting an STD rises exponentially in direct relation to how many sexual partners you have.
- Avoid sex altogether if your partner exhibits open lesions or swelling on his or her body.
- Always practice safe sex. Men should always use a latex condom, especially when engaging in sex with someone new. As an alternative, women can consider the use of a latex female condom. When engaging in oral sex, use a latex dental dam. Long-term, monogamous sexual partners should also use some form of protective contraceptive unless planning a pregnancy.
- Avoid swallowing semen, as it acts as an immune suppressant and thus can increase the risk of STDs caused by infectious microorgamisms.
- Avoid anal sex, especially without protection.
- Urinate after you have sexual intercourse in order to help clean the urethra and prevent infection. This applies to both men and women.
- Have an annual checkup to be screened for STDs that you may not know you have.
- If you know that you have a sexually transmitted disease, be responsible. Inform your partner and insist that he or she be examined and treated as well. Follow the treatment regimen that your physician prescribes as completely as possible, and always use protection whenever you engage in sex.