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.
Welcome to icliniq.com.
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. However, VDRL (venereal disease laboratory test) suggests present disease activity. VDRL non-reactive means, at present, infection is not active.
Thank you for the reply.
I never had a reactive syphilis test in the past. That is why I am a bit confused. And now, the VDRL is non-reactive after one week of reactive FTA-ABS.
Welcome back to icliniq.com.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is usually a consequence of unprotected sexual activity. VDRL reflects disease activity in syphilis, and titers above 1:8 are considered significant. FTA-ABS test is a specific test that detects antibodies developed against the bacteria after an infection. Hence it remains positive for a lifetime as antibodies are present in the body for the entire life. If you have never been treated for syphilis, you could repeat the VDRL test after four weeks and 12 weeks and check for a rising trend. If increasing, I suggest taking the appropriate antibiotic.
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