Canlit Clinic
Kitgum Municipality, Uganda
(Rev. Canlit Memorial Medical Clinic)
Phone / Whatsapp: +256783096734

Rapid plasma reagin (RPR)

A rapid plasma reagin test is a blood test used to screen you for syphilis. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be easily cured if treated in the early stages.

What is this test? Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that first causes symptoms seen with many other illnesses. Early symptoms include rash, fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, and sore throat. In addition, people who have early-stage syphilis may have sores (lesions). Contact with these sores can pass the infection on to other people during sexual contact.

If not found, syphilis can stay in the body for years causing harm to internal organs. Without treatment, over time it it can cause numbness, paralysis, blindness, and even death. But it can be easily cured if treated in the early stages. Treatment involves receiving 1 or more shots of a form of penicillin (penicillin G benzathine).

A rapid plasma reagin test is a blood test used to screen you for syphilis

The rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test is a blood test that looks for antibodies to syphilis. The RPR test looks for antibodies that react to syphilis in the blood. This means the test doesn't find the actual bacteria that cause syphilis. Instead, it looks for antibodies against substances given off by cells that have been harmed by the bacteria.

Why do I need this test?

Syphilis can stay in the body for years causing harm to internal organs. You may need this test if you have ever been sexually active and show symptoms of syphilis. These symptoms may include:

Years after infection without correct treatment, symptoms in the final stages of the disease include numbness, paralysis, blindness, and dementia or death.

The RPR test is often used to check treatment of a syphilis infection. If you are being treated for syphilis, you need to stop having sex until your sores have fully healed. Your partner(s) should also be told so they can also be tested and treated if needed.

the rapid plasma reagin test RPR looks for antibodies that react to syphilis

If you are a sexually active adult with HIV/AIDS, you may need the RPR test at least once a year. Screenings for syphilis and other STIs are also recommended every 3 to 6 months if you have had unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, or intercourse while under the influence of illegal drugs. It's routine to be tested for syphilis and other STIs during pregnancy. Condoms can help prevent the spread of syphilis. But they don't protect against sores outside the condom area.

You may also need the RPR test if you are in a group that is at high risk for syphilis. This includes sex workers, males who have sex with males, or adult prisoners. Syphilis can infect or even possibly kill a developing baby, so it's very important that all pregnant people be screened with an RPR. If it's positive, the pregnant person can get treatment to lower the chance of passing the disease to the fetus.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

RPR is not specific to just syphilis. If your RPR test is positive, you will need more tests to confirm that you have syphilis. One of the most common tests used to confirm a syphilis diagnosis is the T. pallidum enzyme immunoassay. Other tests may include:

These tests will generally rule out a false-positive result. This means your test is positive even if you don't have syphilis. You may also be able to find the syphilis bacteria by taking a sample from a moist sore and looking at it under a microscope.

What might affect my test results?

Your test results may be false-positive for many reasons. These include pregnancy, IV drug use, tuberculosis, chronic liver disease, recent vaccines, or inflammation of the heart lining or valves (endocarditis). You may also have a false-positive result if you have one of a number of infections. These include rickettsial infections such as typhus or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Your results may be false-negative if the test is done too soon after you are infected with syphilis. It takes 14 to 21 days after infection with the spirochetes for your body's immune response to be found by the test. Drinking alcohol within 24 hours of the test also can give a false-negative result.


Canlit Clinic
(Rev. Canlit Memorial Medical Clinic)
Kitgum Municipality, Uganda
Last modified on Wednesday, 22-Feb-2023 06:24:47 CET
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