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

Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test (VDRL)

The Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test is a blood test for syphilis and related non-venereal treponematoses. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be easily cured if treated in the early stages. The VDRL test is used to screen for syphilis and it has high sensitivity.

The rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test uses the same antigen as the VDRL, but in that test, it has been bound to several other molecules, including a carbon particle to allow visualization of the flocculation reaction without the need of a microscope. Many other medical conditions can produce false positive results, including some viruses (mononucleosis, hepatitis), drugs, pregnancy, rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and leprosy.

Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test (VDRL)

The Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test (VDRL) is a blood test for syphilis and related non-venereal treponematoses that was developed by the eponymous lab. The VDRL test is used to screen for syphilis (it has high sensitivity), whereas other, more specific tests are used to diagnose the disease.

The VDRL is a nontreponemal serological screening for syphilis that is also used to assess response to therapy, to detect central nervous system involvement, and as an aid in the diagnosis of congenital syphilis. The basis of the test is that an antibody produced by a patient with syphilis reacts with an extract of ox heart (diphosphatidyl glycerol). It therefore detects anti-cardiolipin antibodies (IgG, IgM or IgA), visualized through foaming of the test tube fluid, or "flocculation".

The syphilis anti-cardiolipin antibodies are beta-2 glycoprotein independent, whereas those that occur in antiphospholipid syndrome (associated to lupus for example) are beta-2 glycoprotein dependent, and this can be used to tell them apart in an ELISA assay. This test is very useful as the trend of titres are correlated to disease activity (i.e. falling titres indicate successful treatment). It has a very good sensitivity for syphilis, except in late tertiary form.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be easily cured if treated in the early stages.

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that first causes symptoms seen with many other illnesses, but it can be easily cured if treated in the early stages.

3 stages of Syphilis

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).


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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