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What Are The Reasons For Getting Positive VDRL?

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Posted on Thu, 9 Jan 2014
Question: Hi, I was treated for VDRL positive during my first pregnancy. Will i have VDRL positive if I am pregnant second time. Another question is my husband and me are sincere to each other and i have not involved in any extra marital affairs. Then what should be the reason for me getting an VDRL positive ? Am confused and very frightened for the same.
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Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham (1 hour later)
Brief Answer: DETAILED BELOW Detailed Answer: Hello Thanks for writing to us with your health concern. A positive VDRL does not always mean that you are having syphilis. To confirm syphilis, specific antibody test for syphilis has to be done ( FTA - ABS ). Once that is positive only you should be treated with penicillin. VDRL is only a screening test, not a confirmatory test. SO please dont worry. Age, infections, immune related conditions, non specific fever, even pregnancy itself - all these can lead to false positive results. I strongly suspect that you did not have syphilis, just had a false positive result due to some other factor. If you have a positive VDRL test this time, please have confirmatory test for syphilis, and only then proceed for treatment. ALso, get your husband treated, so that you would know the likely reason. Take care. Please feel free to ask for further clarifications.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Aarti Abraham (1 hour later)
Hi, Thanks for your reply. I underwent the TPHA test following the VDRL test and even it showed a positive result. When my husband was tested for the same he showed negative for both VDRL and TPHA tests. As there was controversary in our results we consulted two doctors relating to it and they said that it is not 100% reliable as in some cases a false positive result can be there. The doctor said it may be due to blood transfusion or by a infectious needle which would have been injected in my childhood or earlier days. So I was much worried and so i put a question here. Hope my child does not gets infected with it. I also hope that we will not be having any problems in our family life in the future.
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Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham (4 hours later)
Brief Answer: DETAILED BELOW Detailed Answer: Hi Even the TPHA test can have high rate of false positives. YOu should definitely go for the TPHA tests. I am also of the opinion that these are not 100 % reliable. Only if you are positive in FTA - ABS, you should worry about your child. Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Aarti Abraham

OBGYN

Practicing since :1998

Answered : 6005 Questions

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What Are The Reasons For Getting Positive VDRL?

Brief Answer: DETAILED BELOW Detailed Answer: Hello Thanks for writing to us with your health concern. A positive VDRL does not always mean that you are having syphilis. To confirm syphilis, specific antibody test for syphilis has to be done ( FTA - ABS ). Once that is positive only you should be treated with penicillin. VDRL is only a screening test, not a confirmatory test. SO please dont worry. Age, infections, immune related conditions, non specific fever, even pregnancy itself - all these can lead to false positive results. I strongly suspect that you did not have syphilis, just had a false positive result due to some other factor. If you have a positive VDRL test this time, please have confirmatory test for syphilis, and only then proceed for treatment. ALso, get your husband treated, so that you would know the likely reason. Take care. Please feel free to ask for further clarifications.