Should I go for treponemal test three years after sexual contact?

Q. Should I go for treponemal test three years after sexual contact?

Answered by
Dr. Sushil Kakkar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 11, 2018 and last reviewed on: Jun 22, 2023

Hi doctor,

I have an sexually transmitted disease (STD) question and hope to have an STD specialist doctor to assist me. I had a sexual contact three years ago and only last month I went for (Venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) nontreponemal test) and is negative. I have read online that after several years or after sometime usually, the result can be negative even if a person had syphilis before. I am afraid it might be a false negative since it was a few years ago. May I know should I test for Treponemal test such as Treponema Pallidum Particle agglutination (TPPA) or Fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption test (FTA-ABS) to rule out the false negative by VDRL after three years test, I worry it might false negative by VDRL? The negative VDRL test was one month ago and possible exposure was three years ago. Does this mean the person does not have active syphilis infection? Does this also mean it would not proceed to latent or tertiary syphilis that will damage the body such as paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness and dementia?



Welcome to Yes, sometimes many years after an infection with Treponema pallidum, venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) may turn negative. TPHA (Treponema pallidum hemagglutination) or FTA ABS (fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption test) would be confirmatory in that case. You may take this test. Syphilis may slowly progress to the tertiary stage with neurological involvement. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) VDRL is more diagnostic rather than serum VDRL in case of neurological involvement. Was the sexual act three years ago, protected or unprotected? You did not mention that. Regards.

Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
Though I had treatment for syphilis, why does my result remain reactive?

However, if VDRL is still positive, then you need to get retreated with injection Benzathine penicillin 24 million units single intramuscular dose after testing from the local doctor ...   Read full

I have warts on my penis. Is it an STD?

You may screen for HSV with ELISA for HSV type1 and 2, IgG and IgM ... Hello doctor, Test with ELISA is not available ... I had gone through two to three sets of te   Read full

I was misdiagnosed to have syphilis and had treatment. What to do?

So, it is the first stage of syphilis ... TPHA (Treponema pallidum hemagglutination) is a test to detect treponemal antibodies, which are produced by the body against the bug that causes syphilis   Read full

Also Read Answers From:

ideaComprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Also Read

PCOS and Liver Problems
The hormonal imbalances in polycystic ovary syndrome could cause liver diseases. Read the article to know the relationship between these medical conditions.  Read more»
Inferior Alveolar Nerve Lateralization Technique
The inferior alveolar nerve lateralization technique is a surgical lateralization technique to reposition the nerve. Read the article to know more about this.  Read more»
COVID-19 and Ebola: Similarities and Differences
This article gives a comparison and broader overview of the outbreak of the two deadliest diseases that showed a greater incidence over the last two decades.  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a Venereologist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.