This test detects antibodies that the body develops in response to infection with the bacteria Treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis. Syphilis is a bacterial infection transmitted sexually. It passes through four stages. During the first two stages, the infection can be cured. Later stages are marked by the progression of the disease into serious health conditions. This is the most accurate tool to screen for this bacterium, and protect you from complications.
Results may take 3 to 4 business days once the specimen is received at the laboratory. When the treponema test is positive, additional tests including a rapid plasma reagin (RPR) are used to confirm infection with syphilis.
What is Syphilis?
Syphilis is a very common sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacteria known as Treponema pallidum. There are four stages of syphilis: the primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. During the first two stages, syphilis is considered to be the most infectious. Primary stage happens about three to four weeks after exposure to the bacteria, but can take up to three months. Itï¿½s usually marked by a very small round sore that is painless but highly contagious. Wherever that sore appears, thatï¿½s where the bacteria first entered the body. So, it could be in the mouth if the bacteria entered the body through the mouth. It could also be on the genitals or in the rectum. That sore remains up to six weeks. Secondary stage is usually marked skin rashes and a sore throat. The rash is not itchy; and, develop on the palms and soles. Other symptoms include headaches, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, fever and weight loss. The symptoms normally disappear with or without treatments; but without treatment, the virus remains in the body.
The latent stage is the third stage of the syphilis. It is the hidden stage where all primary and secondary symptoms disappear. While the bacteria remain in the body, the person may not know they are infected not until the infection progresses into a tertiary syphilis.
The last stage of this bacterial infection is called tertiary syphilis. As explained by Mayo Clinic, 15 to 30% of infected people who donï¿½t receive treatment reach this phase. It could take an infected person years and decades to reach this level. It is a life-threatening stage that could result in high impact conditions such as blindness, deafness, mental illness, memory loss, heart disease, as well as the destruction of the soft tissues and the bones. Other complications include neurological disorders such as stroke or meningitis.
The CDC explains that more than 88,000 cases of syphilis are reported yearly in the United States. While women rates are in decline; menï¿½s rates, especially men who have sex with men, are on the rise.
Syphilis is an infection that is very hard to detect as its symptoms rarely show. Actually, it could take many years for an infected person to show any sign of infection. The very first indication is a very small painless sore that can be found in sexual organs, rectum or even inside the mouth. The special sore is called chancre and people barely notice it.
The bacterium can be transmitted easily when contact happens with an infected sore during sexual contact. Syphilis can also enter the body through cuts and abrasions and the skin and mucous membranes. It cannot be spread by using the same toilet, bathtub, clothes, or utensils. It is also not transmittable through swimming pools and hot tubs. However, the bacteria can be passed on during kissing an infected person.
Why take the Syphilis test?
The syphilis test is an accurate tool to screen and diagnose an infection caused by the bacteria leading to syphilis. Test detects antibodies that your immune system releases as a result of being exposed to the bacterium. The earlier you take the syphilis test, the better chances you have at curing this bacteria infection. During the first two stages, syphilis can be completely cured. The syphilis test is also used to monitor and assess the treatment course.
You need to order this test if you or your sexual partner have the symptoms of syphilis. Also, even if you donï¿½t have symptoms, you may need to screen for this infection if you are at high risk of being exposed to it. Risk factors include having multiple sex partners, having a partner who has multiple sex partners, having unprotected sex, or having an HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.
Pregnant women need to be screened for syphilis. An infected mother has the bacteria in her body and can pass it to her fetus. As a result, the baby will be born with a congenital syphilis that could be fatal. Congenital syphilis, as explained by Mayo Clinic, is when the baby becomes infected with bacteria through the placenta or at birth. While the newborn may not show any symptoms other than the small rash on the palms and the soles of the feet; later, symptoms would appear suddenly such as having a saddle nose, becoming deaf, or having teeth deformities. According to the US National Library of Medicine, a pregnant woman, at risk, should be retested in the third trimester and again after delivery.
What can cause false results?
There is no evidence of any medicine or natural supplement that could cause faulty results. However, if you were tested too early, you may end up with a false negative. False negative results mean that the test gave a negative result while you have an active infection. If you or your doctor suspects an infection, you need to retake the test to have a better diagnosis.
What your Syphilis test results mean?
If your test gave a negative result; then, you have no syphilis infection. A negative result could also mean that you were tested too soon, before the body started making antibodies against the bacterial infection. In that case, you may need to take the test again.
If your test gave a positive result, then you probably have the infection. Your doctor may need to take other tests to confirm the diagnosis. If you have an active syphilis infection and you were diagnosed early, your treatment can be as simple as a penicillin antibiotic, after which the bacteria will disappear. If you are allergic to penicillin, your doctor may give you other antibiotics such as doxycycline, ceftriaxone, or azithromycin. If you were tested positive at a later stage of the syphilis infection; then, your treatment will also be an antibiotic. But it will only be able to halt the progression of the infection. So, the bacterial disease will not be cured, but its damages will be stopped from progressing further.
Where can I get a Syphilis test near me?
Please use our Lab Locator to find find a convenient testing location.
Choose the test you want (be sure to pick the laboratory you want to use).
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You pay directly and we do not bill your insurance.
(Note: to preserve lowest possible per test pricing, a single $10.00 lab fee is applied to one or more blood tests. You will not incur any additional charges at the lab.)
After purchasing your testing you will receive an email with your lab requisition. Bring this form to the laboratory.
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If you have selected the option to have an At Home Test Kit delivered to you, you will receive your test kit in the mail within 5 to 7 business days. (Not all tests are available as At Home Test Kits.)
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Certain result values may prompt a phone call from our ordering provider to ensure the patient is aware of their result.
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