Editor's note: Frank got such a great response to his post on STDs that we decdided to let him answer one of the key questions people asked in a new post.
A reader asked me about syphilis. It appears he is having a debate with a couple of people about it and is hoping I can settle it for them.
One person thinks that if they catch it early, then only one penicillin shot is what is needed. Another says that it doesn't really matter WHEN you catch it. You should get all three, especially because there is no way of knowing WHEN you actually got it.
This is a great question actually, especially with syphilis rates increasing in many major cities in the United States.
The reader hit on a complicated and confusing area of syphilis.
According to Dr. Jeff Klausner, who heads up the San Francisco DPH - STD section, you are both in the right area, but here is the simple explanation.
If someone finds out they have an early case of syphilis, then the treatment is one dose of medicine given by two injections in the butt (one in each cheek).
If they are unable to tell if it is an early case, then the recommended treatment is 3 doses of medicine given out over three weeks.
This is why it is pretty important that sexually active gay men, have a routine syphilis test every 3 – 6 months. It...