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False positive syphilis test
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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False positive syphilis test

I am a 39 year old woman.  In january this year I went to a doctor and asked for a total check up for STDs (for the purpose of entering into a new realationship).  
Everything came back negative, but I was told that I was a biological false positive for Syphilis.  The doctor assured me that I was OK and that no further testing would be necessary.  I dont really understand how it works, it seems my blood initially gave a positive and then turned out negative later.  They only took my blood once, I did not have to come back for a new bloodtest.  
Now lately I have worried that I could potentially have a lot of other diseases that would have contributed to the false positive test.  Should I ask for a new syphilis test to make sure?  I am particularly concerned for this now as I am trying to get pregnant, and for the last two years I seem to have had an abnormal number of very early pregnancy losses.  
Sincerely,
E A
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Biological false positive syphilis tests are quite common, and are more frequent in women than men.  They are especially common in pregnant women, but they have no effect on the pregnancy itself.  You can be certain you don't have syphilis.  Some BFPs are due to underlying health problems, especially systemic lupus and other diseases associated with over-active immune system, but if you have no symptoms of such conditions, they probably are of no concern.  If you become pregnant, routine syphilis testing undoubtedly will be done, and you may well have another BFP result.  If so, discuss it with your provider--but don't be worried about it.  The vast majority of cases are unexplained and have no health consequences.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
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