If you have syphilis, it’s common to not notice any symptoms. Syphilis is known as the great imitator since it appears to be like many other infections or conditions, and is difficult to diagnose.
Primary stage: A painless sore (chancre) can develop where syphilis entered the body. The sore is often not noticeable and usually occurs anywhere from 3 to 90 days after sexual contact. The sore most often appears in the genital area, but may also be on the lips and mouth. The sore will go away on its own within a few weeks, but syphilis will continue to progress.
Secondary stage: A non-itchy rash can develop anywhere from 14 to 90 days after sexual contact. The rash can appear anywhere on the body, but it is most often found on the chest, belly, genitals, palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The rash usually disappears, but it can come back months later. Other symptoms may include headache, fever, hair loss, swollen lymph nodes and bumps or patches inside the mouth, anus, penis/external genitals, or vagina/internal genitals.
Latent Stage: If syphilis is not treated, it progresses to a latent stage. The latent period can last up to 30 years or more, and you may not have symptoms during this time. Latent syphilis has two stages: early latent syphilis (if a person got syphilis within the last year), and late latent syphilis.