Note, This is What You Need to Know about the Syphilis Test (VDRL/RPR)

"Syphilis is a type of sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. This disease can occur without symptoms in the early stages. Therefore, it is important to do a syphilis test (VDRL / RPR) for effective treatment."

Syphilis is one of the most common types of sexually transmitted diseases. A person can contract this disease through skin contact when engaging in vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity.

Syphilis develops in the body in several stages. In the early days, sufferers usually do not feel any symptoms. Therefore, it is very important to do a syphilis test (VDRL / RPR) as soon as possible to maximize healing. Check out the various types of syphilis tests and their uses below!

Types of Syphilis Tests

There are several syphilis tests you can do to confirm the diagnosis. However, the two most common tests for you to do are VDRL and RPR. Here's the explanation:

1. Veneral disease research laboratory (VDRL)

This type of syphilis test is a blood test that doctors use to detect antibodies that the body makes in response to an attack by the Treponema pallidum bacteria. This test doctors recommend for someone with symptoms of syphilis, but it can also be used by someone who hasn't experienced any symptoms.

Apart from blood, this test can also detect syphilis through the cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal cord. The VDRL test will react toward positive in cases of early-stage (about two weeks from symptoms) to intermediate-stage syphilis.

The test result may be false negative if the disease is in an advanced stage. False positive results can also occur if a person has another sexually transmitted disease or autoimmune disease.

2. Rapid plasma reagin (RPR)

The RPR test is another modified version of the VDRL test. Although the method of detecting antibodies is the same as the VDRL test, this type of test is more sensitive. The RPR test contains particles that make it easier to see antibodies and antigens without the aid of a microscope.

This test is very easy for a person to use and is available for self-testing. In addition, the difference between RPR and VDRL is that the RPR test cannot detect syphilis through the cerebrospinal fluid.

Why Should You Do a Syphilis Test (VDRL/RPR)?

Syphilis tests such as VDRL or RPR can detect the disease by looking for certain antibodies in the body that are associated with syphilis infection. These antibodies can sometimes also be formed due to vaccinations or autoimmune diseases.

Therefore, the doctor will suggest a second test to confirm the diagnosis if the test results show that there are antibodies related to syphilis.

In the second test, the goal is to look for antibodies that the body makes only to fight syphilis. There are also certain tests that do not look for antibodies but directly look for syphilis bacteria in the body.

These two tests are very important to start treatment according to the condition of the body. Syphilis can negatively affect the brain, nervous system, and spinal cord at all stages. Therefore, treatment needs to be maximized as early as possible.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you experience symptoms of syphilis or you have sex with someone who has syphilis, you should consult a doctor and get tested. Symptoms that can appear within a few weeks after infection are:

  • Small sores on the genitals, mouth, or anus.
  • Rough red rash on the palms or soles.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle aches or joint pain.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Weak.
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss in large quantities.

You also need to do the test if you have or are with a partner who has several partners of different sexual activity, has unprotected sexual activity, or has other sexually transmitted diseases.

Doing a syphilis test (VDRL / RPR) is very important when pregnant because pregnant women can transmit syphilis which is dangerous to the baby.

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