Syphilis FTA-ABS Blood Test
Syphilis FTA-ABS Blood Test
The Syphilis FTA-Abs is used to test for the bacterial STD Syphilis. Typically this test is used as a follow-up for a positive result from an RPR test. The FTA-Abs test is highly sensitive in detecting antibodies during the various stages of Syphilis infection.
Syphilis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. It is a bacterial infection which is spread through contact with syphilis sores on a person's body. Syphilis is often called “the great imitator” because it can display symptoms which are common to a number of other conditions. Syphilis infections are divided into several phases. While there are symptoms which are commonly associated with certain phases, not everyone will display the same symptoms or any symptoms at all. Identifying and treating syphilis early is key to avoiding long term health complications.
- Primary Phase: One or more painless sores, called chancres, appear around the infected area. Depending on where the sores appear, they may be difficult to notice. Sores will usually heal on their own after 3-6 weeks.
- Secondary Phase: Some people will have symptoms within several weeks of the initial sores clearing up. These may include sore throat, fever, headache, body ache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, or a rash on the hands and feet. The symptoms will typically clear up on their own.
- Latent Phase: The infection is still present, but will display no symptoms. This stage can last for years and during this time the infection can begin to affect the heart, brain, nerves, bones, or other parts of the body.
- Tertiary Phase: Left untreated, Syphilis can cause serious health issues including death. Some people may experience vision problems, dementia, numbness, or loss of muscle control.
Syphilis is highly contagious and testing is advisable for anyone who is sexually active. Pregnant women should receive Syphilis testing as infection can result in an increased risk of stillbirth and health complications for the infant.
The FTA-Abs test is most commonly ordered as a confirmatory test for someone who has had a positive result from a Syphilis RPR screening. The RPR test is the most common initial screening for Syphilis. An FTA-Abs test is most accurate after the initial stage of infection, which typically lasts 3-6 weeks. The FTA-ABS is a specific treponemal assay to detect antibody to t. Pallidum. The FTA-ABS becomes reactive 4-6 weeks after infection. Unlike the nontreponemal tests, once the FTA-ABS test becomes reactive, it will remain reactive for many years. Since the reactivity found with the FTA-ABS does not indicate a response to therapy, it is not suitable for monitoring treatment. The FTA-ABS test does not distinguish between syphilis and other treponematoses such as yaws, pinta, and bejil. We also offer a Syphilis Comprehensive Panel which includes both RPR and TPA syphilis testing.
Turnaround time for the Syphilis FTA-Abs test is typically 1-3 business days.
Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.
FTA Antibodies are typically detectable by 4-6 weeks after exposure. Some people may take up to 90 days to be detectable.
This syphilis testing does not have any special requirements.Syphilis Overview