Syphilis TPA Treponema Pallidum Test

MHA-TP


Test Code: 082370
Specimen Type: Blood

Description:

Syphilis TPA Treponema Pallidum Test

The Treponema Pallidum Antibodies (TPA) test is used to help determine if a person has been infected with Syphilis.  This test looks for specific antibodies to the bacteria which causes Syphilis.  It can be used as both an initial screening and a confirmation.  TPA antibodies typically develop 3-4 weeks after infection and persist for the rest of a person's life, even after they have been successfully treated.  Because a TPA test is more specific and sensitive than other types of tests such as the RPR, it has a low incidence of false positives.  The CDC's current recommendation for Syphilis testing is to start with a TPA test.  However, a TPA test cannot distinguish between an active and past infection so positive results are often followed up with an RPR test.  Because an RPR test can sometimes show false positives or cross-react with other illnesses, a TPA test can be used to confirm positive RPR results when someone takes the RPR test first.

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 TPA test can be ordered as a routine screening or when someone has symptoms of Syphilis.  It can also be done as a confirmatory test when someone has previously tested positive for Syphilis.  For a more thorough screening, a Syphilis RPR test can be ordered as well.  To order both the RPR and TPA tests together, see our Syphilis Comprehensive Panel.

Turnaround for this test is typically 2-3 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.

Incubation Period:

This test is most acurate if it has been at least 3-4 weeks from a potential exposure.

Categories:


Syphilis TPA Treponema Pallidum Test

MHA-TP


Test Code: 653
Specimen Type: Blood

Description:

Syphilis TPA Treponema Pallidum Test

The Treponema Pallidum Antibodies (TPA) test is used to help determine if a person has been infected with Syphilis.  This test looks for specific antibodies to the bacteria which causes Syphilis.  It can be used as both an initial screening and a confirmation.  TPA antibodies typically develop 3-4 weeks after infection and persist for the rest of a person's life, even after they have been successfully treated.  Because a TPA test is more specific and sensitive than other types of tests such as the RPR, it has a low incidence of false positives.  The CDC's current recommendation for Syphilis testing is to start with a TPA test.  However, a TPA test cannot distinguish between an active and past infection so positive results are often followed up with an RPR test.  Because an RPR test can sometimes show false positives or cross-react with other illnesses, a TPA test can be used to confirm positive RPR results when someone takes the RPR test first.

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 TPA test can be ordered as a routine screening or when someone has symptoms of Syphilis.  It can also be done as a confirmatory test when someone has previously tested positive for Syphilis.  For a more thorough screening, a Syphilis RPR test can be ordered as well.  To order both the RPR and TPA tests together, see our Syphilis Comprehensive Panel.

Turnaround for this test is typically 3-6 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.

Incubation Period:

This test is most accurate if it has been at least 3-4 weeks from a potential exposure.

Categories: