What is a rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test?
A rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test is a blood test used to screen you for syphilis. It works by identifying the nonspecific antibodies that your body produces to fight the infection.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), brought on by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum. It can be deadly if left without treatment. Combined with specific antibody screening, the RPR test permits your medical professional to confirm the diagnosis of active infection and begin your treatment. This minimizes the chances of issues and the spread of the disease by an infected however uninformed person.
When is an RPR test recommended?
Your doctor might purchase an RPR test for a number of factors. It’s a quick method to evaluate those at high danger for syphilis. Your medical professional might likewise purchase this test if you have syphilis-like sores or a rash. Doctors also routinely screen pregnant women for syphilis utilizing an RPR test.
A couple of states still need that people who are requesting a marriage certificate get a screening test for syphilis. These states consist of Mississippi, Montana, and the District of Columbia.
The RPR test procedures antibodies that are not particular just to syphilis, instead of the bacterium that causes disease itself. It can likewise be utilized to inspect the development of treatment for active syphilis. After a course of effective antibiotic therapy, your physician would expect to see the variety of antibodies drop, and an RPR test might validate this.
Taking blood for the RPR test
Physicians obtain blood for the RPR test with a basic blood test called a venipuncture. This can be performed in your physician’s office or a lab. You don’t require to quick or take any other special procedures before this test. The test involves the following actions:
- A doctor will ask you to being in a comfortable chair or lie down on a cot or a gurney.
- They then connect rubber tubing around your arm to assist make your veins stand apart. When they find your vein, they will swab the spot with rubbing alcohol to clean it and place a needle into the vein. The needle may produce an abrupt, sharp pain, but it typically does not last long.
- Once they have the blood sample, they’ll remove the needle from your vein, hold pressure on the puncture site for a few seconds, and use you a bandage.
Is It Risky?
Venipuncture is minimally intrusive and carries very few risks. Some individuals experience soreness, bleeding, or bruising after the test. You can use an ice bag to the leak injury to assist alleviate these symptoms.
Some people might end up being light-headed or woozy throughout the test. Inform the doctor if your dizziness lasts longer than a few minutes.
What Do Results of RPR Tell You?
A normal RPR blood sample shows no antibodies to syphilis. However, your medical professional can not totally dismiss syphilis if they see no antibodies. As soon as you’ve been infected, it takes some time for your body immune system to develop antibodies to combat the germs. Quickly after infection, a test may not yet show any antibodies. This is known as a false unfavorable.
Incorrect negatives tend to be more common in the preliminary and end stages of infection. Among individuals who remain in the secondary (middle) stage of infection, the RPR test outcome is nearly always favorable.
The RPR test likewise can produce false-positive outcomes, recommending you have syphilis when you in fact don’t. One factor for an incorrect positive is the presence of another disease that produces antibodies similar to the ones that battle syphilis. A few of the conditions that can cause an incorrect positive include the following:
- Lyme disease
- certain types of pneumonia, specifically those connected with a compromised immune system
If your result is negative, your physician might ask you to wait a few weeks and then return for another test if you are at a greater risk for syphilis. This is because of the RPR test’s capacity for an incorrect negative.
Due to the danger of false-positive outcomes, your medical professional will confirm the existence of syphilis with a 2nd test, one that is specific for antibodies versus the germs that causes syphilis, before beginning your treatment. One such test is called the fluorescent treponemal antibody-absorption (FTA-ABS) test.
Another test frequently utilized to screen for syphilis is the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) slide test. Nevertheless, the RPR test is usually preferred due to its ease of use.Other kinds of tests are currently being assessed as possible options to standard manual RPR testing. One of these options is a totally automated RPR syphilis analyzerhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_plasma_reagin
Your physician will begin you on antibiotic treatment, typically penicillin injected into the muscle, if your RPR and FTA-ABS test both show signs of syphilis. New infection typically reacts to treatment rapidly.
At the end of treatment, your medical professional will most likely advise that you get another RPR test to ensure your antibody levels are dropping.