Testing for Syphilis
You may never really know you have this infection, particularly at the early stages, until you get tested.
Your doctor might try to diagnose it through physical examination. He/ she may inspect your genital region, anus, mouth, and throat for signs such as chancres, rashes, or growths.
Analysis of blood, another body fluid, or tissue is a crucial part of testing. The investigation is usually a two-step process – first done to identify the infection and again to confirm the bacteria. Blood tests check for antibodies linked to the disease while fluid and tissue tests detect the bacteria.
Two popular blood tests are the venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) test and the rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test. These are called nontreponemal tests, which are followed up with treponemal tests for confirmation.
Examples of treponemal tests are treponemal pallidum particle agglutination (TP-PA) and fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption (FTA-Abs) test.
These days, it is not hard or embarrassing to get tested for an STI, such as syphilis. STDCheck makes it more convenient and discreet to access testing. The service, which combines the RPR test with the confirmatory treponemal pallidum assay (TPA), has more than 4,500 centers spread across the U.S. You should be able to find a location close to you.
This infection can be quite easy to cure. The key thing is early detection.
If you are able to detect syphilis early enough, you might not need more than a round of antibiotics to get rid of it. A single dose of benzathine benzylpenicillin injected into the muscle can eliminate early infections.
Ceftriaxone is another effective alternative to penicillin-based treatment. People who are allergic to penicillin may also be placed on tetracycline and doxycycline.
High doses of intravenous penicillin are usually given to patients with late-stage infections. Patients receive the treatment for a duration of at least 10 days.
You should note that treatment doesn’t reverse any damage already done by late-stage or tertiary syphilis. It only inhibits further progression.