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Syphilis-- proof of infidelity?
Here's the situation:

My wife and I had a child a few months ago. When she was getting back on birth control, she had to take an STD test. She tested positive for syphilis. I immediately suspected infidelity, since she has taken numerous STD tests over the years (and at least 3 over the past year, due to pregnancy) and never came out positive for anything. Our child also tested negative at birth.

Now for the curve ball: I had to get tested too, due to risk of exposure. My results were negative-- however we have only had unprotected sex two times since she got on birth control. I'm also someone who is in the habit of taking a shower immediately after intimate activity. Now my wife is claiming that it is congenital (meaning she got it at birth), however she only came forward with that statement after I revealed that I tested negative. I feel like she is using "its congenital" as a convenient excuse. I find that hard to believe, since she has taken multiple tests and never showed positive until now.

Here is the question:

Is it possible that my wife really does have congenital syphilis from her mother and that it is latent or already treated? If so, how do you explain taking multiple STD tests and only testing positive for one? I know all the evidence is screaming "she's a cheater!!" but she swears on our child's life that she has been faithful, and as her husband I want to trust and believe her. But as an intelligent person I have to admit something doesn't quite add up. Please cite medical sources or first-hand experiences. No unsubstantiated opinions please. Thank you for reading!

Additional Details
-After testing positive, she was required to undergo three doses of penicillin, for safe measure. Why would they do that if it was latent (and therefore not contagious) or if was already treated in her childhood?
-I was given a blood test for syphilis BEFORE I received my first and only dose of penicillin ("due to exposure", they said). Once I received my negative confirmation I was told I don't need to receive the other two doses. In other words I was never infected.
-She does not want me to ask her family about it and have them in our business
-The doctor will not reveal if it was congenital due to patient confidentiality.
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6 Answers
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Avatar universal
If you want medical sources then look around the internet, we are here to give you educated answers.

Syphilis is only transmitted sexually from direct contact with a syphilis sore. A false positive is possible from a syphilis test, but her statement of having it since birth is probably not truthful because she would have tested positive in the past. Do you know what her teir number is?
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101028 tn?1419606604
your wife wouldn't be testing positive for syphilis now after testing negative multiple times. too late at this point since she's underwent treatment to retest to check for false positives or to make sure she was properly tested in the first place.

if your wife had had congenital syphilis , she would've known about it because if she hadn't spent time in a nicu soon after birth and had proper treatment for it, she either wouldn't be alive today or would be severely mentally handicapped. it's also not likely she'd just now be testing positive for it from that and they also wouldn't have felt the need to treat her from that.

perhaps you two might want to make an appointment to talk to her medical provider who did the testing together to discuss this more and go from there?

grace
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Thanks for your reply. I don't know what her teir number is, or what that is. I'll google it :)
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Yea I think her claim that it is congenital is completely ridiculous. The medical provider, her gyno, will not tell me anything because she says its "patient confidentiality" (never mind the fact that I am her husband, and an STD could affect me!). She has had the same gyno since she was a teenager and would not be surprised if they are agreeing to keep the truth from me. I'll find a way to discover the truth. Thanks for your reply
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The only way you can get the real truth is for her to tell it to you.  Have a real conversation with your wife and try not to get into the investigation mode.  Just sit her down and tell her you know she cheated, and it's virtually impossible that this is congenital, so ask her to give you the whole truth.  As your wife, she at least owes you that much.  

Sorry, I didn't mean to start givng out relationship advice, but the facts are, this is not congenital.  Like Vance said, you can go on the net and find all the information you want, we have all read over the facts and have a good body of knowledge when it comes to STD's and that's why we're here.  Sorry you're having to deal with this.
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101028 tn?1419606604
yes due to hipaa laws you don't have a legal right to know her test results but I'd discuss with her that in the interest of your marriage, both of you talking to her provider about this is the best idea since trust and honesty are important.

if she still refuses to do so, I think you have your answer as to how she contracted it don't you?  
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