Syphilis is a bacterial infection, which causes painless sores in the genitals, rectum, and mouth. It is commonly spread through sexual contact. Once infected, the bacteria can be dormant for years without causing any symptoms before getting active.

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Why is there a white round patch in the tongue with reflux symptoms?

Query: Hi doctor, I am very healthy, 36 years old, with 180 lbs and a height of 6.4 feet. I usually exercise regularly. Three years back, after a stressful year, and switching to a vegan diet for several months, I had nagging reflux symptoms (sore throat, sore tongue, colored tongue, and bitter taste). So...  Read Full »

Dr. Muhammad Zubayer Alam

Answer: Hi, Welcome to Thank you for the query. I can understand your concern. According to your statement, you may be suffering from nagging reflux symptoms like sore throat, sore tongue, colored tongue, and bitter taste with a white patch on the tongue. According to the picture (attachmen...  Read Full »

My RPR test results are 1:1, and Treponema pallidum antibodies are negative. What is the cause?

Query: Hi doctor, I screened for STD, chlamydia and gonorrhoea and the test resulys was negative. I did two tests for syphilis, first was the RPR Q test which came back with a value of 1:1, and Treponema pallidum antibodies which came back negative. I repeated both tests, and the result was the same. I kno...  Read Full »

Dr. Syed Tehmid

Answer: Hi, Welcome to Well, a 1:1 RPR (rapid plasma reagin) titre does not signify much in presence of negative treponemal tests. Only a rise in titre has significance. Did you have syphillis in past? It can even occur if you have had viral illness like chicken pox or others like lymes or ce...  Read Full »

I have two bumps on the head of my penis, and I am tested negative for syphilis. What could it be?

Query: Hello doctor, I have two big bumps on the head of my penis. One came a week ago, and the second bump came about two days ago. I went for a syphilis test today, and the reports say that I am not reactive. I have attached the pictures and a copy of the reports below. I am not convinced because the sy...  Read Full »

Dr. Arpit Varshney

Answer: Hello. Welcome to I have read your concerns in detail, and I will surely help you. I went through the reports, and I have also seen the pictures attached (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity). I strongly suspect you have an STD (sexually transmitted disease)...  Read Full »

I was exposed to an HIV-positive person as I was the anal receptive partner. Did I contract HIV?

Query: Hello doctor, I was exposed to HIV positive person as I was the anal receptive partner. In the first week of this month and somewhere in the middle after this, I was exposed twice. I started feeling tired, had body aches and headaches after two days of exposure, then chills the next day, and ...  Read Full »

Dr. Basti Bharatesh Devendra

Answer: Hello, Welcome to Thanks for writing in, and I understand your concern. Suppose you have been initiated on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) at least seven days earlier than the risk exposure. In that case, the protection rates for receptive an...  Read Full »

Can you get syphilis from drinking in someone's cup?

Query: Hello doctor, Are there any chances of me getting syphilis by drinking a beverage that someone with syphilis already sipped?  Read Full »

Dr. Sushil Kakkar

Answer: Hello, Welcome to No, you will not acquire syphilis just by having a drink sipped by a person with syphilis. Modes of transmission of syphilis are: Commonly through sexual contact. From pregnant mother to child. Through blood transfusion. Moreover, the bacteria causing syphil...  Read Full »

Is the RPR antigen test a confirmatory test for syphilis?

Query: Hello doctor,I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and recently had an RPR test for syphilis that showed positive results. But the confirmation RPR shows non-reactive. My only symptom was a white tongue and a chronic sore throat that I still have even after ten days of oral Penicillin 500 mg.If my RPR co...  Read Full »

Dr. Muhammad Zubayer Alam

Answer: Hi, Welcome to Thank you for the query. According to your statement, you have been suffering from a sore throat and white tongue for two months. I can understand your concern. A false-positive RPR (rapid plasma reagin) test indicates that you are suffering f...  Read Full »

My FTA-ABS is reactive and VDRL test is non-reactive. What can be the reason?

Query: Hello doctor, I recently did an FTA-ABS test for syphilis. It showed reactive with a titer 1:1. But after a week and a half, I took a VDRL test, and it was non-reactive. Now I am confused. The doctor was not so clear while explaining the difference in the result. Kindly help. Thanks.  Read Full »

Dr. Rakesh Kumar Bahunuthula

Answer: Hi, Welcome to Thanks for writing in, and I understand your concern. If FTA-ABS (fluorescent treponemal antibody test absorption) test is positive, it will remain positive for lifetime. It suggests that you have been infected with syphilis. It could have been in the past or present. ...  Read Full »

Why is my test still reactive even after taking treatment for syphilis?

Query: Hi doctor, I am a 37 year old married female. Five years ago, I got a job offer in abroad. When I had a medical checkup, I was found to be positive for VDRL and TPHA reactive. But, my husband's result was nonreactive. I took medicine as advised by my doctor. Now, when I went for a checkup, again t...  Read Full »

Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode

Answer: Hello, Welcome to Firstly, VDRL (venereal research laboratory test) test usually becomes negative after successful treatment. However, TPHA - Treponema pallidum hemagglutination assay will remain positive throughout life. Positive TPHA just indicates that you have developed antibodies ...  Read Full »

Please mention the exact window period for HIV.

Query: Hello doctor,Before 16 years, I had lots of high-risk exposures. Before seven years, I started having lots of various symptoms that I have to this day. At that time, I ceased my activities and got tested. All STDs tests were negative, but I continued to have symptoms. I can say that I have had many...  Read Full »

Dr. Rakesh Kumar Bahunuthula

Answer: Hi, Welcome to HIV infection has a window period of one to three months during which the tests can be a false negative. According to WHO (World Health Organization), all tests for HIV are considered conclusive at 12 weeks after the last high-risk exposure. For syphilis, the window peri...  Read Full »

What are the risks of treating a dental patient with a red syphilitic rash?

Query: Hello doctor, I am a dentist, and I had a patient with a secondary syphilis stage two days ago. I only saw it after the procedure that he is affected. What I did was merely an examination of his teeth, and no drilling, wind, etc. But I touched his saliva, and from what I understood later after seein...  Read Full »

Dr. Peter Bryant Rapsing Grutas

Answer: Hello, Welcome to Thank you for reaching out. I understand your concern. Based on what you presented, your risk is very low since you did not touch the lesion itself, and you were wearing gloves; therefore, there was no skin to skin contact. It is least likely you could have gotten s...  Read Full »

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