As of 2015, the medical protocol with regard to syphilis is treatment with antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection, according to WebMD. Most commonly, doctors use penicillin to handle the job, although patients allergic to penicillin receive tetracycline, doxycycline, azithromycin or ceftriaxone.
People who have tested positive for syphilis in the blood or show symptoms indicative of syphilis should take antibiotics. Any sex partners of people with syphilis or infants born to women with syphilis require similar treatment. The dosage and length of the antibiotic regimen vary with the stage of the illness, as stated by WebMD.
Penicillin treatment cures just about all syphilis cases, no matter what the stage. However, while antibiotics keep further complications from happening, they do not undo damage that has already taken place. After the antibiotic regimen, patients should return for follow-up testing. At six, 12 and 24 months after the infection, testing ensures that the disease has not returned. If HIV is also present, follow-up visits should take place every three months during the first year, notes WebMD.
If a pregnant mother has syphilis, treatment before the 16th to 18th week often prevents transmission to the baby. After that point, the treatment cures the syphilis in both mother and infant but does not reverse damage for either patient, reports WebMD.