One of the most common and feared sexually transmitted diseases is syphilis. This is not just another sexually transmitted infection – it is a life-threatening disease. Anyone who suspects that they may have contracted the disease should get themselves tested. Syphilis can be detected by several tests.
Unlike most diseases, the tests for syphilis are conducted in a systematic manner at particular points in the life of the disease.The first and most obvious test to detect syphilis is the testing of the cells of the chancre. A chancre is an open sore that is associated with syphilis. By scraping off these cells and studying them under a microscope, the bacterium that is responsible for the spread of syphilis can be detected.
VDRL (Venereal Disease Research Laboratory)
This is a blood test that is used to screen the blood of anyone who is suspected of suffering from syphilis. This test is also conducted on pregnant women to rule out syphilis.
RPR (Rapid Plasma Reagin)
This is a more advanced test. This is a blood test that is again used for screening purposes. The RPR is also used post treatment of syphilis to analyze the effectiveness of the treatment.
FTA-ABS and TPPA
These are used for diagnostic purposes. Once the presence of the Treponema pallidum bacterium is detected, the FTA-ABS test is ordered to confirm beyond doubt, the presence of syphilis. This is usually ordered after the VDRL and RPR tests suggest syphilis.
Ordering A Syphilis Test
Syphilis tests will be ordered by a doctor in any of the following instances:
Syphilis can kill a fetus if it progresses to the latent stages; and therefore, this is ordered during one of the initial prenatal checkups.
If you suffer from symptoms of syphilis, the tests will be ordered. One of the first symptoms is the presence of a chancre on the body. Screening tests will be ordered once the chancre has been tested positive for syphilis. Any rash around the genitals of both men and women will warrant a syphilis test.
If you suffer from any other STD and are being treated for the same, syphilis tests will be ordered to make sure you do not carry the bacterium responsible for syphilis.
If you are infected and are being treated for syphilis, follow up tests are ordered after three months, six months, one year and 2 years. This is necessary to make sure that the disease has completely disappeared.
Syphilis is a dreaded disease; however, it is 100% curable. If you suffer from any symptoms of syphilis or if you suspect that you may have transmitted the disease, it is important to get tested immediately.
If you test positive for syphilis, act responsibly and let your sex partners know that you are a carrier of syphilis; insist that they get themselves checked and treated for the same.
Avoid sexual intercourse until you have been completely cured of the disease.
Follow-up examinations and syphilis tests are necessary for up to 2 years.