For young people

What’s syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmissible infection – an infection you can get from having sex with someone who has that infection.

Sexually transmissible infection are usually called STIs.

Syphilis and young people

Way too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people have STIs – especially young people in regional and remote communities.

This is no reason to be shame – it’s just because remote communities are small and STIs can spread around quickly.

You can have an STI and not know it because there may be no signs or symptoms.

Even if you are feeling well, it can be causing damage to your insides. You can still pass the infection on to people you have sex with if you feel well and don’t have symptoms.

Syphilis is very dangerous for pregnant women.

It can harm the unborn baby. Babies can be born with syphilis and die.

Get tested – get treated

We can turn this around if lots more young people test regularly for syphilis and other STIs and get treated.

STIs are easy to catch. Don’t be shame about getting tested. Don’t be shame about getting treated.

Testing for STIs and getting tested is part of living a healthy life – about respecting yourself, your partner and your community. It’s all part of being young, deadly and free!

What’s a BBV?

A BBV is a blood borne virus – a virus you can get if the blood, semen (cum) or vaginal fluid from someone with that virus gets into your blood. This can happen during sex or by sharing drug injecting equipment.

HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are examples of BBVs.

BBVs are easier to catch if you have another STI. It’s important is to get tested for BBVs if you have another STI such as syphilis.

You can have a BBV and feel well, with no symptoms. The only way of knowing you have a BBV is to get tested.

Testing is easy. And if you find out you have a BBV soon after getting it – treatment is easier and you can make sure you don’t pass it on.

Don’t be shame – STI and BBV testing is about respecting yourself, your partner and your community.

Syphilis – the facts

Want to learn about STIs and getting tested?

Here are some factsheets about syphilis and other STIs and BBVS. Learn about:

  • how you can get syphilis
  • the symptoms and signs
  • using condoms
  • getting tested, how it’s done and how often to test
  • what treatment involves
  • staying safe.

Here’s a great video about syphilis – a doctor explaining its history, the symptoms, and the importance of testing and treating.

Get involved!

Have a look at our Facebook page. Have a chat with one of our Ambassadors!

You may have seen TV ads about syphilis recently.

There are two ads. One is about getting tested and why it’s important.

The other ad is about syphilis and pregnancy. This is tough to watch but we all need to understand how risky syphilis is for pregnant women – for both the mum and the baby.

These ads are for everyone in the community. Knocking out syphilis and other STIs is everyone’s responsibility. Share these videos!

Get tested!

You can get tested for STIS at your local health clinic. Just ask the health worker or doctor.

Get tested:

  • Whenever you have a health check
  • If you have a new partner
  • If you have been having sex with different people without using condoms
  • If you have been sharing injecting or tattooing equipment.

Get tested at least every six to 12 months, even if you always use a condom – or usually do.

Condoms can break and condoms don’t protect against all STIs.

Don’t be shame. We need to get STI rates down in our community. Getting tested is looking after your health and helping the community knockout STIs.

  • STIs can happen to anyone
  • STIs can be treated
  • Health workers can help explain treatment.

Where to get a test

You can get tested for STIs at your local health clinic. Testing is free. Just ask the health worker or doctor.