Syphilis – STD Facts

Syphilis: Facts, prevalence, causes, stages, symptoms, & treatment | FactDr

Syphilis is the sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is caused by a type of bacteria known as Treponema pallidum. It is a type of infection which can be easily cured but can be serious in case it is not treated at the right time. 

Syphilis Tests

Testing of syphilis is done on blood, body fluid, or tissue samples.

The screening test is done when a person shows the signs of syphilis. The confirmation test can be done to confirm syphilis infection.

Screening tests 


  • Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) Test


VDRL is done using the blood of the spinal fluid sample to check the presence of an antibody in the person that is produced against syphilis.

Testing the sample of Blood:

Through the blood test, one can confirm the presence of the antibodies that are produced to fight against the infection. The best part of the blood test is that antibodies produced in the body against the syphilis infection will remain in the body of several years. Hence, the test is used to determine past infection in a person.

Testing the Cerebrospinal fluid

The physician would suggest for a lumbar puncture or spinal tap for the collection of cerebrospinal fluid for testing if you are suspected of any nervous system complications due to syphilis.


  • Rapid Plasma Regain (RPR) test


 The RPR test also helps to find the presence of syphilis antibodies. 


  • Rapid Immuno-chromatographic test


Rapid Immuno-chromatographic test helps in examining the antibodies specifically to syphilis. 

Confirmation Tests Syphilis


  • Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) tests


EIA blood test checks for syphilis antibodies. A positive EIA test should be confirmed with either the VDRL or RPR tests.


  • Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody Absorption (FTA-ABS) test


FTA-ABS test also checks the presence for antibodies either in blood or spinal fluid. It is the syphilis test done after the first 3 to 4 weeks of exposure. 


  • Treponema Pallidum Particle Agglutination Assay (TPPA)


TPPA test is done when the other tests results show as positive for syphilis. The test is also done to confirm the presence of antibodies in the blood. TPPA test is not done on spinal fluid.


  • Darkfield microscopy


Darkfield Microscopy test is done using a special microscope to look for the syphilis germ in either the sample of fluid or tissue that is taken from an open sore. This test can also be done even in the early stages of diagnosis.


  • Microhemagglutination assay (MHA-TP)


The MHA-TP is a method of confirmation of syphilis infection after other tests give a positive result for syphilis in a person.


If you doubt syphilis infection, it is extremely vital to get the STD test done immediately. Various treatment methods can be done when your result shows positive for Syphilis, including the antibiotics injections or course of capsule for two or four weeks. Treatment course will depend on the duration of your infection.

If you think you might have already contracted the syphilis infection, get in touch with us for a discrete and fully confidential appointment with Broadgate GP. At our GUM clinic London, we offer you with a sexual health GUM service including the testing and treatments for all types of STIs and STDs. We assure you to provide you with friendly service with the highest standard of private health service in London.