The VDRL test stands for venereal disease research laboratory, which is a test used to determine whether you have syphilis, which is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The bacteria Treponema pallidum causes syphilis. The bacteria infects by invading the mouth or vaginal region lining.
The VDRL test measures the substances (proteins), called antibodies, that your body can make if you have come in contact with the bacteria responsible for syphilis. The test looks for antibodies made by your body in response to antigens released by bacteria-damaged cells. Antibodies are proteins that your immune system produces to fight against germs or some infections. Testing for these antibodies can help doctors determine if you have syphilis.
This test is accurate even if you do not have syphilis symptoms. The VDRL test can be done regardless of whether you are presently experiencing symptoms or not; since it looks for antibodies created due to a syphilis infection.
Why do doctors do VDRL tests?
If your doctor suspects you have syphilis, he or she will most likely request a VDRL test. The following early signs may trigger your doctor to order this test:
In some circumstances, your doctor may do a syphilis screening even if you have no symptoms of the illness. If you're pregnant, your doctor will check for syphilis as part of your routine treatment. This is a common process, and it does not imply that your doctor suspects you of having syphilis.
If you're being treated for another STI, such as gonorrhea, or HIV, your doctor may additionally test you for syphilis.
The VDRL test
For the VDRL test, a healthcare expert will collect a sample of blood. Normally, blood is extracted from a vein in the elbow's crease or the hand's back. This blood sample will then be submitted to a laboratory to be tested for syphilis-related antibodies. If your doctor feels that your syphilis infection has progressed to your brain, he or she may prescribe additional tests to examine your spinal fluid as well as your blood.
The person taking the VDRL test does not need to fast or stop taking any medicines. If your doctor wants you to refrain you from certain foods or medication, then they will notify you prior to the test.
Understanding your VDRL test findings
If your test for syphilis antibodies comes negative, it means you don't have the disease.
If your test for syphilis antibodies comes positive, you most likely have the disease. If this happens, your doctor will schedule an additional test to confirm the results. A treponemal test is frequently used to confirm a positive test result. Treponemal tests determine if your immune system has developed particular antibodies in response to the syphilis-causing organism Treponema pallidum.
Possibility of false positives and negatives
The VDRL test is not always reliable. For example, if you've had syphilis for less than three months, your body may provide false-negative results since it takes this long to produce antibodies. In late-stage syphilis, the test is also unreliable.
The following can result in false-positive results:
Even if you have syphilis, your body may not develop antibodies in some circumstances. As a result, the VDRL test will be inaccurate.
The antibodies produced by a syphilis infection might remain in your body long after the illness has been cured. This means you could always get positive results on this test.
The risks of taking the VDRL test
There are no such major risks related to the VDRL test. One may experience small difficulties, such as moderate discomfort during the blood draw or little bruising or bleeding afterward.
Syphilis is curable, but it's critical to see a doctor as soon as you suspect you've been exposed. If left untreated, it can spread throughout your body and cause organ damage. The VDRL test isn't perfect, but it's a reliable test that can assist in detecting if you've been infected. The most important fact to remember is to practice safe intercourse, and if you suspect you've had contact with syphilis, visit your doctor immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the VDRL test?
The VDRL test is a diagnostic test that screens for syphilis.
2. What if the VDRL test reports come positive?
A positive report for VDRL confirms that you have syphilis. The doctor will prescribe one more test after VDRL is positive.
3. Which hospital is best for VDRL?
Medicover hospitals is the best hospital for VDRL. Medicover hospitals provide the top diagnostic facilities with accurate and fast reports.
4. Is the VDRL test painful?
No, the VDRL test is not that painful. However, some people might feel little pain when the blood is taken from their veins.
5. Is the VDRL test safe?
Yes, the VDRL test is safe to take.
6. Is fasting required for the VDRL test?
No, it is not important for a person to stay empty stomach or do fasting before this test. Also a person taking this test doesn't require special preparation before this test.
7. Is the VDRL test always accurate?
No, the VDRL test is not always accurate. It sometimes shows false negative and positive reports. After VDRL is positive, one may need to perform additional tests.
8. How long will it take to get VDRL results?
You may get your VDRL lab test report within 24 to 36 hours of your medical diagnosis.
9. Where can I get the best treatment for syphilis?
To get the best treatment for syphilis, visit Medicover Hospitals. It offers the best treatment facility to the patients and has the top doctors who treat syphilis.
10. Can syphilis be cured?
Yes, syphilis can be treated with the right medication and care.
11. What is the cost of the VDRL test?
The cost of VDRL varies between 300 to 500 approximately. The price may vary due to place and other factors.