Understanding Syphilis: Serology Tests TPHA and VDRL
Serology TPHA VDRL: How to Detect Syphilis?
Serology TPHA VDRL is a method to detect syphilis, an infection that can be transmitted through sexual contact.
Serology is a method to check for diseases by examining blood to see if there are signs of infection.
This article provides important information about Serology TPHA VDRL, how to detect syphilis, symptoms and complications of syphilis, when to get tested, how to interpret test results, the importance of detecting syphilis, and how to protect yourself from syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases.
We hope this article is helpful for readers in understanding the importance of early detection and prevention of this disease. Remember to be cautious and always protect yourself and your partner by using condoms during sexual intercourse. Thank you for reading!
Usually, this test is done during a sexually transmitted infection screening, if there are symptoms, or during pregnancy. So, what’s involved in this test? Is there treatment if the result is positive? We will tell you everything.
Microwells showing positive and negative TPHA test. dr. David Csaba Levente, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Serology TPHA VDRL: What are the Symptoms and Complications of Syphilis?
Syphilis is an infection that can be transmitted through sexual contact. It can spread through unprotected sexual intercourse, whether vaginal, anal, or oral. This sexually transmitted infection is caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. Cases of syphilis are increasing in many developed countries.
Anyone who is sexually active can become infected with syphilis.
Syphilis can also be transmitted through contact with syphilitic sores. This means that if someone touches a sore or lesion caused by syphilis on an infected person, there is a risk of contracting the disease. That’s why it’s important to be cautious and avoid direct contact with syphilitic sores.
VDRL slide for performing the blood test for syphilis blood test. Microrao, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Serology TPHA VDRL: What Does This Test Involve?
Although a clinical examination can provide clues (for example, the presence of a chancre), the only way to detect syphilis is through serology, which is an analysis of blood. You need to have a blood test. In the blood sample, the TPHA test (Treponema Pallidum Hemagglutinations Assay) will be performed to detect the presence of the bacteria. This is a quantitative biological (blood) test with results expected in 1 to 2 days.
The TPHA test has replaced the TPHA/VDRL test, which was previously used as the initial step in syphilis detection. The TPHA/VDRL test allowed for a manual examination of syphilis. Currently, thanks to technological advances, it is possible to detect the bacteria more efficiently. The VDRL test (Venereal Disease Research Laboratory) is done as a second step if the TPHA test is positive, to determine the active nature of the disease.
It’s important to know: even though there have been advancements in this procedure, sometimes some doctors still order the TPHA/VDRL test. Don’t worry, this won’t be a problem and your screening test (blood test) will be conducted properly.
When Should You Get the Serology TPHA VDRL Test?
Generally, there are three situations where syphilis testing is needed:
- During a complete sexually transmitted infection screening: in addition to chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B, or even HIV, syphilis will also be detected.
- If there are noticeable symptoms: for example, if you notice the presence of a chancre on your genital organs.
- During pregnancy: syphilis testing is mandatory for pregnant women to prevent the possibility of syphilis in the newborn. This test is done during the first prenatal examination and repeated at 28 weeks of pregnancy if the mother engages in risky behavior. This obligation is also due to the fact that syphilis in infants is very serious, with a mortality rate of up to 40%.
How to Interpret the Results of Serology TPHA VDRL Test?
If your TPHA test is positive, it needs to be confirmed with a second test, the VDRL test. If the confirmation test is also positive, then you can consider yourself infected with syphilis. Consult a doctor immediately, and bring your positive test results to receive appropriate treatment. Treatment generally involves the administration of simple antibiotics and is well known.
Treatment involves injections of Benzathine penicillin G, with monitoring every three months for a year. The earlier the treatment is given (ideally during the primary stage), the more effectively it will work. Therefore, newly acquired infections have a greater chance of a complete recovery compared to advanced infections. Of course, during the treatment period and until complete recovery certified by a doctor, you should take all necessary steps to prevent the bacteria from spreading to your sexual partner. The use of condoms is crucial.
After recovery, remain vigilant. Antibodies produced during the infection do not provide protection. Therefore, you can still be infected with syphilis again! Condom use and regular check-ups remain very important to prevent the possibility of reinfection.
Finally, if your TPHA test is negative, it means you are not infected with syphilis. However, continue to use condoms to minimize the risk and avoid the possibility of transmission.
Why is it Important to Detect Syphilis?
Although syphilis can be cured, it’s important to remember that the progression of this disease without treatment can have serious consequences. Therefore, early diagnosis of the infection allows for prompt treatment before the bacteria start causing damage in your body. So, it’s important to detect the bacteria as soon as possible. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear; sometimes infections can develop without showing symptoms, and only screening tests (blood tests) can detect them.
Additionally, as we mentioned, cases of syphilis have been increasing since 2000 worldwide. Therefore, it’s important to limit the rise in syphilis cases. To achieve this, testing is a very effective tool. It’s clear that by ignoring your infection, you are more likely to spread it to those around you.
In this regard, professionals recommend testing every three months for those most vulnerable to syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. Testing can be done at times in life that allow for thorough examination: with a new partner, when stopping condom use with your partner, engaging in unprotected sex, or if you have any doubts.
How to Protect Yourself from Syphilis and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases
The best way to protect yourself from syphilis and sexually transmitted diseases in general is to use a condom. Additionally, it also protects against unwanted pregnancy.
Both male and female condoms allow for effective self-protection, but on the condition that you use them correctly! You should use them from start to finish of sexual intercourse, including oral and anal sex. If a condom breaks or slips off during sexual intercourse, it should be considered as unprotected sex. In fact, there is a risk of transmission in this situation.
Some men may not like using condoms, especially because it can interfere with an erection during sexual intercourse. Know that there are solutions to overcome this issue, such as using a female condom if possible. Regardless, protection is not optional. It should not deter you from protecting yourself during every sexual encounter.
If you are in a relationship, the decision to stop using condoms should be accompanied by sexually transmitted infection testing for each partner. The idea is to start from a clean slate!
Remember, protecting yourself and your partner is a shared responsibility. Take care!
Information: Cleverly Smart is not a substitute for a doctor. Always consult a doctor to treat your health condition.