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A 24-year-old female asked:

What are the chances of 1) getting syphilis from kissing 2) getting syphilis from a guy touching his penis with open lesions then fingering?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 53 years experience
Very low risk: Syphilis is rarely transmitted by kissing and probably never by hand-genital contact, fingering, etc. Virtually all syphilis is from vaginal, anal or oral sex. And "open lesions" of the penis aren't likely due to syphilis, and if your partner isn't gay or bi, it is unlikely he had syphilis. Multiple open lesions of penis is of concern for herpes -- also low risk, but more so than syphilis.
Dr. Mary David
Specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Some risk: There is little risk from kissing as long as there are no sores in the mouth but there is definite risk from engaging in any sexual activity with a partner who has open sores on the genitalia. You both need to be seen, tested, and treated ASAP

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Last updated Jan 2, 2017

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