A case of primary syphilis: Emergency department evaluation and management

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Syphilis is a systemic disease caused by Treponema pallidum spirochete. The majority of young, sexually active patients who have genital ulcers also have genital herpes, syphilis, or chanroid. Syphilis is therefore known as "the great imitator" because many of the characteristics of syphilis are indistinguishable from those of other sexually transmitted infections. Patients who contract syphilis may seek treatment of related complaints on the basis of varying stages of infection. It is important for the advance practice nurse to screen, diagnose, and appropriately treat all patients at risk for syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections. This article presents an interesting case of a 21-year-old man with a genital lesion who presented to the emergency department. The role of the emergency department advance practice nurse in the treatment and management of patients with syphilis is outlined herein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Emergency Nursing Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Chancre
  • Genital ulcer
  • Primary syphilis
  • Sexual transmitted infection (STI)
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD)


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