Why It Is Done
A syphilis infection can spread through the bloodstream to all
parts of the body. If not treated, syphilis can cause severe heart disease,
brain damage, spinal cord damage, blindness, and death.
A test for syphilis is done to:
- Screen for syphilis or check treatment for a
syphilis infection. Screening tests help your doctor look for a certain disease
or condition before any symptoms appear. This increases the chance of finding
the infection when it can be cured or treated to avoid long-term problems.
- Some states require the VDRL screening test
before a couple can obtain a marriage license.
- The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task
Force (USPSTF) recommend that all pregnant women be screened
for syphilis early in pregnancy.1, 2
- Confirm that a syphilis infection is
syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is often done for
people who engage in
high-risk sexual behavior. If you have syphilis, your
sex partner or partners should be notified, tested, and treated to prevent
serious complications and to stop the spread of the disease.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Devika Singh, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
September 29, 2011
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