How Much Does it Cost to Treat Syphilis Without insurance?
The lifetime cost of treating syphilis in the United States averages $1,190 without insurance. Testing for syphilis is done by a blood test and can be screened on its own or through an STD test panel. Without insurance, the cost of testing ranges from $10-350. Syphilis is easily curable if diagnosed and treated early. Without treatment, syphilis can present life-threatening risks.
The Cost of Syphilis Testing at Different Clinics & Locations
The cost of syphilis testing varies depending on whether you receive them through medical centers, labs, or at-home tests. Below is a chart with various testing locations and pricing estimates from low to high. Most sites accept insurance, but it is dependent on what your coverage offers. Eligibility can also differ based on your circumstances.
The Cost of Syphilis Testing at Medical Centers, Labs, and At-home tests
|Medical Centers||Cost without insurance||Accepts Insurance?|
|University Health Services||$10-20||Accepts insurance. Free or $5-10 (processing fees)|
|Planned Parenthood||$40||Accepts insurance|
|ClearMD STI Testing- NYC||$59||Self-pay/Doesn’t take insurance|
*UHS costs based on averages from Columbia, Rutgers, Wesleyan, Houston
Options and Cost of Lab-based STD Testing
|Lab-based STD testing||Cost without insurance||Accepts Insurance?|
|Jason Health||$28||Accepts insurance|
|STDCheck||$49||Self-pay/Doesn’t take insurance|
|QuestDirect||$55 (Orders not permitted in: AK, HI, AZ)||Accepts insurance|
Options and Costs for at-home STD Tests
|At-home STD tests||Cost without insurance||Accepts Insurance?|
|Health Labs (home and lab hybrid)||$49||Accepts insurance|
|iDNA Syphilis Test||$78||Self-pay/Doesn’t accept insurance|
|myLAB Box||$89||Self-pay/Doesn’t accept insurance|
|Mira||$99 (Includes Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV I & II, and Syphilis)||Accepts insurance|
|Letsgetchecked||$149 (Includes Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, HIV, Syphilis)||Self-pay/Doesn’t accept insurance|
Click here to view more options for the best at-home STD tests.
Costs for Treatment of Syphilis
A single intramuscular injection of benzathine penicillin G is the recommended treatment for syphilis. Benzathine penicillin G is an antibiotic that kills the bacteria that cause syphilis. If you’ve had syphilis for over a year, you will need 3 shots (one shot a week for 3 weeks). Penicillin G requires a prescription from a medical professional and cannot be purchased over the counter.
Cost of treatment with Penicillin G
|Services||Cost without insurance|
|Single injection of long-acting Benzathine penicillin G||$15-50|
Your provider will ask you to avoid sexual contact with new partners until your treatment is completed. Throughout your treatment, you will conduct routine blood tests and exams to ensure your body responds well to the penicillin treatment.
The good news is that late-stage syphilis is treatable. However, penicillin cannot reverse any organ damage caused by syphilis. Treatment and follow-ups will vary depending on what stage of syphilis you are diagnosed with. Because syphilis increases your risk for HIV, your provider may also recommend testing for HIV.
Alternatives to Penicillin Treatment
For individuals allergic to penicillin, other treatment options are available. However, penicillin is the only recommended treatment if you are a pregnant woman with syphilis. Pregnant women can undergo a desensitization process that might allow them to take penicillin. This process involves a gradual oral introduction of penicillin to the patient so they can tolerate the medication without an allergic reaction.
The CDC recommends that penicillin-allergic individuals consult an infectious disease specialist to discuss what alternatives will work best for them. The following are alternatives to penicillin:
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Cost of treatment with an Alternative Medication
|Alternative Service||Cost without insurance|
|Doxycycline (100 mg orally 2 times/day for 28 days)||$9-30|
|Tetracycline (500 mg orally 4 times/day for 28 days)||$20-60|
It’s important to note that while there are options, the efficacy of these alternatives is not well studied. Be sure to consult your doctor on the risks of penicillin alternatives.
The different stages of syphilis
Syphilis is a bacterial infection typically spread through sexual contact. Syphilis develops in 4 stages, and symptoms are different in each stage. Symptoms don’t always occur in one order, and some stages can overlap with each other. You can have syphilis without noticing any glaring signs or symptoms for years, especially in the primary and secondary stages. Late detection and treatment can cause physical and financial problems if not detected and treated early.
The appearance of a small sore called a “chancre” is one of the first signs of syphilis. Most people develop one, but some people can develop several. Chancres appear at the spot of infection where the bacteria enter your body, most commonly around the genital area, mouth, or anus.
Chancres heal on their own over 3 to 6 weeks, are firm and painless, and produce fluid containing syphilis bacteria. Many people overlook the development of a chancre. If you suspect you are at risk for syphilis, be sure to let your provider know any concerns you have about sores on your body.
Secondary syphilis includes symptoms that can come and go for as long as a year:
- Rash that begins on your trunk
- Wartlike sores in your mouth or genital area
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
The latent stage occurs when syphilis continues to go untreated. This stage presents no symptoms and can last for years.
Tertiary syphilis develops complications for about 15%-30% of people who go undiagnosed. At this stage, the disease can cause severe organ damage.
Additional Syphilis Variations:
Neurosyphilis: Occurs when syphilis spreads and causes damage to the nervous system, brain, and eye. Neurosyphilis can occur at any stage.
Congenital syphilis: Occurs when a pregnant woman with syphilis gives birth. Newborns risk syphilis infection by contracting it through the placenta and during delivery. Symptoms aren’t usually evident during birth and develop later on. Congenital syphilis symptoms include:
- Teeth deformities
- Collapsed nose bridge (saddle nose)
- Rash on palms of hands and soles of the feet upon birth
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Syphilis Treatment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
STD testing can be an intimidating and confusing process. Here are some frequently asked questions to provide you with the best answers to your concerns.
How Do You get syphilis?
Syphilis is spread by direct contact with a syphilis sore, usually during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Many people are unaware that they carry syphilis because the sores are easy to miss, especially around the genital area. Using condoms is a great preventative measure to protect yourself from contracting syphilis.
You cannot get syphilis by toilet seats, sharing food or drinks, hugging, doorknobs, or by sharing clothing.
Can I get multiple STDs at once?
Yes, it is possible to contract multiple STDs at the same time. This is known as a co-infection. It is not uncommon. Some STDs are likely to co-occur, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea or syphilis and gonorrhea.
Many risk factors vary from person to person. For example, you are more susceptible if you already have one STD and engage in unprotected sex with someone carrying another STD.
The best way to ensure you are in your best health is to get regular STD tests at least once a year. Click here to learn more about when and where you should get an STD test.
Can I get syphilis multiple times?
Yes. Once you are infected, treated, and cured of syphilis, the same process can occur again. To ensure your treatments are effective, follow up with your provider to know you’re at your healthiest self.
How long is the treatment for syphilis?
The length of treatment depends on how long you’ve had syphilis.
- Less than a year (early stage): 1 shot.
- Over a year (late stage): 3 shots, one shot a week for 3 weeks.
- Newborns: 10-day treatment.
If you have a severe case of syphilis, you may require a shot of penicillin every day for 10 days. Penicillin pills will not cure syphilis. A shot or IV infusion is needed. It's also recommended to abstain from sex for 1 week after treatment until all your symptoms have gone away.
Who does syphilis affect most?
Syphilis can affect any sexually active person. There is a greater rate in urban areas, among young people between the ages of 15-30, and among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). To prevent the spread of syphilis, notify your sexual partners if you become infected, practice protected sex, and get regularly tested for STIs.
With and without insurance, STD testing can be a costly expense and an intimidating process to navigate on your own. Knowing your options for when and where to get tested when you start your search is essential.
There's never a wrong time to check in on your health. Here at Mira, we have many resources to ensure you take the necessary steps to live a healthy, sexually active life. For just $99, members can receive an STD panel that includes screenings for the most common STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and (for the millionth time) syphilis. Your membership also provides consultation for treatment if you receive a positive result. Sign up today to get started!
Regine Roquia is a Masters of Public Health Candidate at New York University studying Public Health Policy & Management. She is passionate about creating the culture she wishes to see by working to increase health literacy.