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RPR false positive?
4 months ago I developed pimple like spots on my groin, and on the palms of my hands. W/in a couple weeks the ones on my groin disapeared and the ones on my palms and soles of my feet developed into flakey red almost hard spots (not itchy). I went, and had an rpr test for syphilis which came back negative. I was told to go to a dermatologist and in another month I went. By this time I started getting spots all over my body. Not pimple like - but patches of red (not raised) all over my body - particularly visible when I get out of the shower. I also developed a sore on my tongue, and in my nostrils. They tested me again for syphilis (rpr) and it came back a high positive. (don't really know exactly the count). I was treated with a big shot of penicillin and was told I would probably get sick and it would be a sign that it was working. 4 days have passed and there has been no improvement, naseua, or anything except a sore bum. Now, I am a gay male, but "married" (we've both been monogomous for sure) for 3 years. He has NO symptoms. I have my primary physician stumped. I can say that prior to all of this I had a couple ringworm like rashes on my inner thigh. I thought perhaps it was pityriasis rosea but the dermatologist said no. Overall, this is a nightmare. I work with kids, and to have this on my palms is the worst! Is it possible it is spyhilis and I won't get sick or even close to it? What else could it be? Would some kind of steriods be a good option?
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Avatar_universal
You have syphilis sounding symptoms, and you had a positive test.  The tests are pretty specific, meaning that false positives are unlikely.  Your first test was probably negative due to it being a more recent infection.  I'm not sure why they didn't follow up your first positive test with a FTA-ABS to make sure it was not a false positive.  The good thing is, since FTA-ABS will remain positive for life, you can still take this test and if it's positive, you can be sure you had syphilis.  If it were me, that's what I would do.  I'd also have my partner tested.

Good luck with everything.
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I know this is a little late, but you probably know by now that you don't have the Syph.  The RPR test is a horrible, horrible screening test for syphilis because it is horribly inaccurate.  Realistically speaking, only 2% of those that are RPR-positive will test positive in the FTA-ABS.  It doesn't test for antibodies against anything related to the bacteria that causes Syph.  It does, however, test for antibodies against a lipoprotein in your cardiac tissue.  If this hasn't resolved, ask your doctor about a tetracycline regimen for the possible staph/strep infection you might have.
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207091_tn?1337713093
I don't know about the 2% stat, but I would hope that the doc followed up with the FTA-ABS to confirm the test.

This is an old post, and the only reason I'm responding is so that people reading will know to ask about the confirmation of results.

AJ
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372349_tn?1257799470
I recently had labs done which indicated that I had rpr react 1:4, which I cannot believe I have siph as I am not sexually active..for MANY years now...if this is the case, is it often that a false read comes from this test??
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207091_tn?1337713093
Did they do a confirmatory test?  They should - insist on it.  

If that comes back positive, its likely that you've had this for a long time, and didn't know it.  You should be treated with a penicillin shot once a week for 3 weeks, and then get a follow up test in 3 months.

Aj
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