Syphilis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It is a bacterial infection spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected person. Syphilis develops in stages that can last for weeks, months, or even years. The stages may be separated by long periods of apparent good health.

Syphilis usually starts with a small, painless sore, called a chancre, on the genitals, anus, or mouth. In the next stage, you may have flu-like symptoms and/or a rash. Later stages of syphilis can damage the brain, heart, spinal cord, and other organs. Syphilis tests can help diagnose syphilis in the early stages of infection, when the disease is easiest to treat.

Other names: rapid plasma reagin (RPR), venereal disease Research laboratory (VDRL), fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption (FTA-ABS) test, agglutination assay (TPPA), darkfield microscopy


To screen for and/or diagnose an infection caused by Treponema pallidum, the bacterium that causes the sexually transmitted disease (STD) syphilis.


If you are sexually active, you are at risk of being exposed to syphilis if you 1) have another STD or HIV infection, 2) have a sexual partner diagnosed with syphilis, 3) have engaged in high-risk sexual activity, 4) are a man who has sex with men, or 4) are a pregnant woman. Get tested if any symptoms of a syphilis infection are present.

    • Why do I need this test?


    • You may need a syphilis test if your sexual partner has been diagnosed with syphilis and/or you have symptoms of the disease. Symptoms usually appear about two to three weeks after infection and include:
    • Small, painless sore (chancre) on the genitals, anus, or mouth
    • Fever, Headache, Swollen glands, Fatigue, Weight loss, Hair loss


    • Even if you don't have symptoms, you may need a test if you are at a higher risk of infection. Risk factors include having:
    • Multiple sex partners
    • A partner with multiple sex partners
    • Unprotected sex (sex without using a condom)
    • An HIV/AIDS infection
    • Another sexually transmitted disease, such as gonorrhea

  • You may also need this test if you are pregnant. Syphilis can be passed from a mother to her unborn baby. A syphilis infection can cause serious, and sometimes deadly, complications to infants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all pregnant women get tested early in pregnancy. Women who have risk factors for syphilis should be tested again in the third trimester of pregnancy (28–32 weeks) and again at delivery.
RPR Syphilis

RPR Syphilis

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Note: The medical information provided here in this website is for informational purposes only and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.