What is a syphilis test?
There are 3 main types of screening tests for syphilis.
Rapid plasma reagin (RPR): When harmful bacteria are in your body, your immune system makes antibodies that help to fight the bacteria. The RPR test checks your blood for signs of the antibodies that fight the bacteria that causes syphilis.
Venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL): The VDRL test also looks for the antibodies that help fight the syphilis bacteria. This test can be performed on blood or spinal fluid.
Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test: This blood test also checks for syphilis antibodies. A positive EIA test should then be confirmed with either the VDRL or RPR test.
Other tests to confirm results
Tests are not always 100% accurate, so another test might be done to confirm the results.
Dark field microscopy: For this test, some tissue or fluid is taken from an open sore. A special microscope is then used to help look for the syphilis bacteria.
Fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption (FTA-ABS): This test is done on a sample of spinal fluid or blood. It looks for antibodies, but cannot be used for the first 3 to 4 weeks after catching syphilis.
Treponema pallidum particle agglutination assay (TPPA): The TPPA test looks for antibodies against red blood cells or bacteria.
Microhemagglutination assay (MHA-TP): This test looks for syphilis antibodies and can be used to confirm syphilis in its early stages.
Where can I get a syphilis test?
If you think you have been exposed to syphilis, you can get a blood test from Superdrug Online Doctor that will tell you if you’re infected. This is an easy to use test kit that is delivered to an address of your choice, and you can take the sample from the comfort of your own home. You can also get tested for syphilis at a sexual health clinic.
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