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Mar 2023

Things you need to know about a VDRL test : Why is it important?

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Mar 30, 2023

The term VDRL stands for Venereal Disease Research Laboratory. There is a dangerous sexually transmitted infection named syphilis, which is caused by a bacterium named Treponema Pallidum that penetrates into the lining of the genital area or mouth. The main purpose of performing a VDRL test is to determine the presence of syphilis in the body.

When the disease takes place, antibodies are created in our body. As we all know, antibodies are one kind of a protein that is produced by the natural immune system of your body that fights bacterias and infections. A VDRL test does not look for the treponema pallidum in your body to determine the presence of this disease. Instead, it looks for the antibodies that your body has produced to prevent the disease.

Syphilis can be extremely harmful for any individual. If syphilis is left untreated for so long, then it may cause harm to crucial organs like the brain, heart or spinal cord. A VDRL test is still the most effective way to determine the presence of syphilis in a human body. It must be mentioned that it’s not necessary to have symptoms of syphilis to make a decision of going for a VDRL test.

When is a VDRL test performed?

A VDRL blood test is performed when the doctor suspects that you are likely to grow syphilis or there remains a chance that you have syphilis. If you have been infected by any other sexual disease like gonorrhea, or you are involved in any risky sexual activities or have ever been infected with HIV, then the doctors may recommend you to go for this test.

Besides, the VDRL test can also be recommended to you if you have a skin rash that is not causing irritations like itching or a feeling of swelling in lymph nodes.

How is the VDRL test performed?

Firstly, a specific amount of blood is drawn from the vein of the patient, on which the test is performed. Then the sample is carried in the laboratory and after that, a colorless solution of alcohol is added to the sample that consists of lecithin, cardiolipin and cholesterol. Then the pathology experts look for the syphilis antibodies in that sample and if found, then it clearly indicates the presence of syphilis in the patient’s body.

Result interpretation of a VDRL test

As the test mainly looks for syphilis antibodies, it is easy to interpret a VDRL test result. If the test report shows negative results for syphilis antibodies, then you are not having the syphilis infection in your body. On the other hand, if the test result shows positive results for syphilis antibodies, then it means that you already have the infection in the body.

Which factors may affect the test report accuracy?

However, there remains a chance of false positive results. First of all, the test is not at all reliable if the syphilis has reached the final stage. On the other hand, you should not go for this test if you have the seed of syphilis in your body for less than three months because that is the time span required for the natural immune system of a human body to create antibodies against syphilis.

Also, If your body does not produce the antibodies even if you have syphilis, then there remains a chance of getting an inaccurate test report. Apart from that, the presence of certain diseases and health complexities may also massively affect the test results.

  • Lyme disease
  • Malaria
  • Certain kinds of pneumonia
  • HIV
  • Tuberculosis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

Is there any risk of taking the VDRL test?

There isn’t any particular risk that you may face during the VDRL test. You may face a bit of irritation when the blood sample will be drawn from your vein. However, it does not lead to any serious health condition or any long term health issue.

Who must consult a doctor and go for a test?

There are certain categories of people who may need to go for a VDRL test.

  • Men who have physical relationships with men
  • People who carry the seed of HIV in their bodies
  • Women who are pregnant

When will the doctors suggest going for a test?

The doctors may suggest to go for a syphilis test when,

  • Somebody has visible symptoms of syphilis
  • Someone who is already on treatment for any other sexually transmitted disease
  • Someone who has very recently got syphilis treatments.

Just because there remains a chance for inappropriate test reports, the doctors may suggest you repeat the test if they suspect that you are at a high risk of catching this disease. Diseases like syphilis must not be handled casually because syphilis may even lead to neurological diseases as well as death. Although antibiotics can solve it at the earlier stages, it needs serious medical attention once it starts to turn critical.

Get a VDRL test today and get the presence of syphilis detected

It is now easier to get the VDRL test facilities anywhere in the country as so many genuine and reliable pathology labs have started to provide many such test facilities for a very reasonable price. To be mentioned, non itchy rashes, fever, gray or white lesions, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, sore throat, fever, fatigue, headaches, unexplained weight loss etc are considered as some of the secondary symptoms of syphilis.

On the other hand, one or more than one syphilitic sores or chancres are considered as the primary symptoms of it, which may appear within 10 days to 3 months after the bacteria takes place in your body. Once you notice it getting visible in your body, don’t think twice and book a VDRL test at any genuine and reliable pathology laboratory, so that you can take necessary medical actions at the initial stage of the disease. If left untreated, the bacteria will remain in the body as well as the infection, which will only worsen the situation.


  • https://www.healthline.com/health/vdrl-test
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/186656#symptoms