Some possible early symptoms may occur about three weeks after you have sex with someone who has syphilis. You may notice a painless sore or sores called a chancre (pronounced 'shank-er') on your penis, scrotum, mouth, near your anus or in your throat. Chancres may occur inside the body so they may go unnoticed. Chancres are usually painless and typically the size of a button. Even without treatment these sores go away after several weeks. Even without the sores, you are still infected. Itís very easy to pass on syphilis to someone at this stage of infection.
4 to 10 weeks after becoming infected, you may notice possible later symptoms including: you may notice could include a red rash (which is not itchy). The rash may appear anywhere on your body but often shows up on your face, chest, back, the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. You might also have patchy hair loss.
During the next stage, you may experience warty-like growths may appear in the mouth, on the genitals or around the anus. Nervous system symptoms: neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, hearing loss and loss of speech. These symptoms will go away even without treatment however you are still infected and you can still pass on syphilis to your sex partners.
Finally, there is a long period without any symptoms. However, left untreated the syphilis bacteria continues to thrive in your body and can cause serious damage to your heart, brain, eyes and bones. It may take up to 10-30 years before this damage is seen but can occur much earlier if you also have HIV. Fortunately, syphilis can be detected and treated before it reaches this stage.