Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a bacteria. You can get syphilis when you come in contact with a syphilis sore. Sores are most commonly found on the parts of the body involved in sex, such as the penis, vagina, anus, rectum, mouth or lips. Syphilis is easy to get through oral sex. Pregnant women with syphilis can also pass the infections on to their babies. Syphilis screening is recommended for all pregnant women.  

HIV goes hand-in-hand with syphilis. Having syphilis can make it more likely to acquire HIV. And for people living with HIV, having syphilis or having a partner who has syphilis can make it much easier to transmit HIV. 

Using condoms correctly and consistently can help protect you from contracting syphilis. However, even if you are using a condom, it is still possible to acquire syphilis if you are exposed to a sore that is not covered by a condom. You cannot get syphilis from contact with things like doorknobs, toilet seats and hot tubs.