This describes the first stage of syphilis. The primary lesion is the chancre which is characteristically infectious and painless. There is a regional lymphadenopathy with large, swollen but painless lymph nodes. A papule develops between 9 to 90 days after exposure to the pathogen. The papule usually develops on a genital site, e.g. penis, labia or cervix. This soon ulcerates to become the painless, hard chancre.
The primary chancre usually heals after 3 to 10 weeks, with development of secondary syphilis occurring 6 to 8 weeks after the chancre has healed.
Last reviewed 01/2018