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Syphilis Testing

About two months ago I was diagnosed with syphilis and treated with penicillin.

I was told to go back for further testing in three months to see if it's been treated successfully, though I've read in a few places that due to the presence of antibodies after a syphilis infection, future blood tests will always remain positive for syphilis.

Is this true?  And if so, how can they accurately diagnose if treatment has fully eradicated the syphilis infection?

Thank you!
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541093 tn?1224670896
The follow up test to check if syphilis infection has completely gone away is RPR (Rapid Plasma Reagin) or the VDRL... To my experience, its not true that test results will remain positive but they'll show up as non-reactive if you are completely cured... Once the RPR is non-reactive, you are completely free from the disease and no more contagious on spreading it to any sexual partner at all... Pencillin is very effective in curing the syphilis in all its stages but it can't be detected if it enters in the last stage... Untreated syphilis can cause damages to your internal organs like your nervous system & heart etc that can even lead to death... So, you are a lucky one to diagnose it early and get the cure... Relax and practice safe sex in furture... You are out of danger for life and its completely gone away if the follow up test appears to be non-reactive/ negative, which usually is after a pencillin shot... This all is from my personal experience...
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Avatar universal
Can I clarify this question ? The RPR can be low positive for life after infection with Syphilis. The FTA-ABS is one marker that can be used to insure successful treatment. The FTA-ABS test may revert to negative after several months post treatment. Syphilis is still very sensitive to penicillin treatment. Remember to wear condoms to protect yourself. take care.
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207091 tn?1337709493
To follow up on what Dallas said...

There are numbers with the results, and what your doctor is looking for is a significant drop in those numbers.

Some people will continue to test positive on the RPR or VDRL, but the numbers will be low enough for your doctor to know that its an old infection, and the confirmation test with the FTA-ABS will confirm that.

It is VITAL that you get this follow up testing.  Untreated syphilis, or syphilis that didn't respond to treatment, can cause all kinds of very serious problems.


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Avatar universal
Thanks for all the tips thus far.  

I plan on going to get re-tested at the 2 month mark next week (I was told to wait until the 3 month mark, but unfortunately my university-based health insurance will be out by then).  I will also go for an HIV test again since the syphilis put me at a greater risk (though I had one 7.5 weeks after a potential exposure and the test came back negative, giving me some peace of mind on that front).

Again, thanks for the help above!
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