syphilis test

Syphilis Test

In this new age, people become less and less careful when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases. Things like chlamydia, HIV and syphilis go by unnoticed. The problem becomes ever so apparent when people contract these diseases and yet they fail to visit a doctor or get tested.

Syphilis, for example, is a sexually transmitted disease, one that you can contract during oral, anal or vaginal intercourse. It is treatable, though the treatment will not be able to reverse any damage done by the disease prior to starting it.

In order to avoid getting yourself in more trouble, you should get tested as soon as you experience any of the syphilis symptoms, especially during the primary stage. When you get infected, you will usually get a red ulcer, called a chancre, at the point where syphilis entered your body. That spot will not itch or hurt and will usually heal after a week or so. That doesn’t mean, however, that you are free of syphilis, but that it is ready to initiate its secondary stage. Getting a syphilis test is ever so easier nowadays and there are various ways to get it done.

Syphilis Test

The variety of currently available syphilis testing methods also enable you to choose which one is more appropriate for you. The nature of these tests is different, as is their approach. The most common tests are antibody tests. In addition to those, there are also direct testing methods that look for the bacteria that causes syphilis itself, not the patient’s immune system’s response to it. Antibody tests are further divided into nontreponemal and treponemal tests (named after the bacteria that causes syphilis, Treponema pallidum).

Antibody tests, in general, search your body for antibodies produced as a response to the disease. Antibodies are formed as the foreign substance enters your body and the immune system reacts to it. In the case of syphilis, nontreponemal tests are used not only to screen for the syphilis antibodies, but for other antibodies as well. Either your blood or your cerebrospinal fluid is screened for antibodies. Even though most of these tests are very sensitive, they might result in some false positives as many things can affect the results, such as Lyme disease, lupus, malaria, tuberculosis, intravenous drug use and even pregnancy.

Treponemal tests, on the other hand, are more direct and scan for treponemal antibodies only. Other diseases are very unlikely to give a positive result. Treponemal tests do not detect other antibodies, although a nontreponemal test should be considered after a treponemal one as there might be lingering antibodies which might point at an active infection or one that has been successfully treated.

Direct testing methods are not as common nowadays, mostly due to their methods either having a very specific time window during which they produce reliable results or taking too long. Darkfield microscopy is an example of a very time-specific test. It requires scraping a sample of the initial chancre and examining it through a darkfield microscope. Since that chancre heals within a week or two and is difficult to detect, it presents a difficulty that antibody tests do not have to cope with.

The methodology of the tests is rather simple, most of them require that you give a blood or cerebrospinal fluid sample, which will then be scanned for either antibodies to syphilis or actual molecules that belong to the bacteria causing the disease. The specifics do vary from test to test as some use different solutions in which the blood is tested while others have a different approach, such as molecular testing. Darkfield microscopes also work differently, because they require a sample of the chancre itself, it being the first symptom of syphilis. The chancre tissue sample is placed on a slide and examined with a darkfield microscope.

Syphilis Test Kit

Testing has really come a long way since the early era of venereal disease treatment. The 20th century saw quite an improvement in many things, medicine being among them. Testing has become a more pleasant thing nowadays as it no longer makes you wait for days to get the results. With a syphilis test kit, things get done in mere minutes now, literally – most of the time you can expect to receive your results in as short as 20 minutes.

Another very pleasant fact is that most of the contemporary tests are also available in your local pharmacies/drugstores. These tests include a comprehensive manual which you should follow to the letter. They are very specific, and that is by no chance, the reason being that the tests are rather sensitive and if you want to get the best results, that is, as precise as they can be, you should follow them with all your attention. Alongside a manual, you will also find a disinfectant as well as a lancet. The disinfectant is used to clean your finger pre and post puncture. Yes, the test kits are blood tests, but that shouldn’t worry you. The lancet used to puncture your finger is very user friendly. You only need press it and after hearing a click, you will have punctured your finger. The tests all contain a solution into which you need to place your blood, as well as a rod/pad which will hold your blood. After waiting for 15-30 minutes, your results will be ready. The tests almost always have one line, that indicates whether the test works, also showing you the negative result. If a second line shows, that means that the test is positive. Albeit these tests are up to 99.9% accurate, you may be recommended to retest at a laboratory.

Home Syphilis Test

The good news of stepping into a new millennium of technology is that tests for various diseases have become portable, becoming available to most people on a regular basis. That means that you, as an individual can purchase a syphilis home test and take it wherever you please, but for the sake of your results, it is best you do it in a calm, controlled environment, like your home. A home syphilis test has an accuracy of 99.9%, so if done correctly, it will give you very precise results. Having that in mind, you should feel safe purchasing one.

Speaking of purchasing the test for syphilis, you have two options: getting one online or getting one in a brick-and-mortar drugstore. These tests cost anywhere between 20 to 70 US dollars, depending on your country and the test brand. The perks of buying from a drugstore is that the test cannot be damaged during transport, while the obvious perks of ordering online are complete anonymity, affordability and the fact that you do not have to expose your private problems to people who you might not feel comfortable around.

Even though an at home syphilis test kit can offer very reliable results, clinical tests are definitely more accurate. A notable difference in doing a test in a clinic is that you have staff who is trained for that specific test and who can help you both physically and mentally, whether by guiding you through the test process itself or by guiding you through the treatment process and anything else related to STDs.

Rapid Syphilis Test

As mentioned above, since their debut, rapid syphilis tests have become widespread, available in most drugstores and even online. Most of the home tests for syphilis are actually rapid tests, given how they present you with a result in less than half an hour. These tests are designed to be accurate and most of them are antibody tests, looking for antibodies to syphilis in your blood.

As the home tests described above, the rapid syphilis tests do exactly the same thing, they allow you to test yourself for syphilis by puncturing your finger with appropriate tools you are supplied with. These tests are also available in clinics, so check them out, as they may actually be free of charge under certain conditions. They function pretty much the same way the antibody tests at home do. Getting results doesn’t take more than 15 to 30 minutes, and that time is usually spent reading the booklet on STDs or talking to a consultant in a clinic. Wherever you decide to take the test, make sure to follow the instructions properly.

Testing at a Clinic vs Testing at Home

There are various reasons to consider when testing for syphilis. You have the options to get tested at a healthcare facility or in the privacy of your own home and both of them have their benefits. Here they are – at least, the ones that we are aware of:

The Clinic/Hospital:

They will have a wide variety of tests available for you, not just the antibody tests. Furthermore, if you go for the antibody test, you will be notified whether your test of choice is nontreponemal or treponemal. But, that is just scratching the surface, you will be able to get a darkfield microscopy test if you still have your chancre on the body or a molecular scan. The last two look for syphilis specifically, in a very different way from the blood or cerebrospinal fluid tests.

Home Syphilis Test

Testing ad home, on the other hand, allows you to have your own privacy while doing it. Sure, it is a blood test and it is very accurate, though you have to follow the instructions to the letter, otherwise you may get compromised results or no results at all. Whilst you have your privacy, you do make the sacrifice and miss out on the knowledge of the professionals that can sometimes make all the difference.

Syphilis Treatment

Syphilis is a treatable disease nowadays, especially if you catch it in its earliest stages. The course of treatment is rather simple for the early stages, and it involves getting no more than just a shot of penicillin. Always be sure to tell your doctor or anyone involved in the treatment if you are allergic to penicillin. There are alternatives, such as azithromycin, doxycycline or ceftriaxone. Any of these can be used to treat syphilis, especially in the early stages.

Intramuscular injections are used to treat the early infections, mainly the primary and secondary syphilis. Sometimes, they are also used to treat early latent stages. If, however, you are in a later latent stage, you will be treated intravenously, for a longer period of time, sometimes three weeks, sometimes more. The treatment for the primary and secondary stages does not last nearly as long. Even though the treatment does not last long, a person should be tested an entire year following the treatment at regular intervals, to see whether they are free of the bacteria or not.

A person should also refrain from any sexual intercourse during the time of treatment and after treatment, in order to prevent spreading the disease further. Likewise, all sexual partners from a period close to the infection should be contacted and told of the condition, so that they get tested and treated, if necessary. They should follow the same procedure for treatment, especially refraining from sexual activity if they are infected with syphilis. It is worth noting that babies can get syphilis from their mothers, but that can also be treated with penicillin and other abovementioned antibiotics.

With syphilis taking a new leap in spreading in the past decade, people should be wary of this disease. It can be deadly, especially if left untreated for a long time. If infected, a person will get symptoms at first, such as the chancre, an ulcer that is red and pretty visible, on their genitals or mouth, depending on the point of entry of the bacteria. Furthermore, the symptoms may include rashes over the back, hands or feet. These signs should not be ignored, as they can help prevent any further damage to the infected person’s body.

You can either get in touch with a local clinic and get tested for syphilis or you can just buy a syphilis home test at a drugstore or online, and you will have results with high accuracy. Rapid tests can produce results in less than half an hour. Early treatment is painless and gives you the opportunity to get through the disease undamaged.

This sexually transmitted disease can be cured, so be smart and get tested if you have any symptoms, and do your best to avoid any risky sexual activities in future.

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