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Syphilis Outbreak in Alaska

Alaska is experiencing a rise (AKA increase) in syphilis cases

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause serious health problems if it is not treated. Untreated syphilis can spread to the brain, nervous system, or eyes resulting in paralysis, numbness, dementia, or blindness. In advanced cases, untreated syphilis can result in death.

You should get tested for syphilis if you:

  • are a man who has sex with men
  • are living with HIV
  • have partner(s) who have tested positive for syphilis
  • you or your partner(s) have had any of the signs or symptoms of syphilis

Syphilis can be cured with the right antibiotics from your health care provider. Having syphilis once does not protect you from getting it again. Even after you’ve been successfully treated, you can still be re-infected.

Ways to Get Tested

Find a Testing Location:

Signs or Symptoms of Syphilis

If you or your sex partners have had any of the following symptoms, it is important to be tested for syphilis. You can be tested at one of the events listed above or schedule an appointment with your health care provider.

A firm, round, painless sore (chancre) at a location where you have sex (including your mouth, anus [butt], or vagina). Because the sore is painless and can be inside you, it can easily go unnoticed. The sore usually lasts 3 to 6 weeks and heals regardless of whether or not you receive treatment. See image.

A rash on one or more areas of your body. The rash can look like rough, red, or reddish brown spots on the palms of your hands and/or the bottoms of your feet. The rash usually won’t itch and it is sometimes so faint that you won’t notice it. The rash can also be on other parts of the body, including the genitals. The rash normally lasts for about 4 weeks and will go away whether or not you have received treatment. See image.

Mucous membrane lesions, which include mucous patches and moist, wart-like growths on or inside your mouth, vagina, or anus (butt). These symptoms are commonly reported to cause discomfort or pain. They normally last about 4 weeks and will go away whether or not you have received treatment. See image.

All symptoms of syphilis will go away regardless of whether or not you receive treatment. Even after the symptoms go away, it is important you be tested and treated because you are still infected and more serious neurological problems can occur years later.

Learn More about Syphilis:

Alaskans can call the State HIV/STD Program at 907-269-8000 for additional information and for help identifying testing locations.

Order your free at-home STD testing kit for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia from

Get Help

For general resources about relationships, sex, wellness and more, please do a search on the Get Answers page.

Are you in immediate danger?

Call 911 or your local police. If not in an immediate threat, please view resources on the Get Help page.