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Information about the VDRL  

We Have to Know about the VDRL 

  • VDRL is a screening test for syphilis that measures antibodies that can be produced by Treponema pallidum, the bacteria that causes syphilis.

How the Test is Performed:   

  • The test is usually performed on blood.
  • If an individual is suspected of having brain involvement with syphilis (neurosyphilis), the VDRL test may be performed on spinal fluid.

How the Test Will Feel:       

  • When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the Test is Performed:   

  • This test is used to diagnose syphilis.
  • Syphilis is a highly treatable infection.
  • In addition to screening individuals with signs and symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases, syphilis screening is a routine part of prenatal care during pregnancy.

Normal Results:   

  • A negative test is normal and means that no antibodies to syphilis have been detected.
  • The screening test is most likely to be positive in secondary and latent syphilis. During primary and tertiary syphilis this test may be falsely negative.

What Abnormal Results Mean:   

  • A positive test result may mean you have syphilis. If the test is positive, the next step is to confirm the results with an FTA-ABS test, which is a more specific syphilis test.
  • The VDRL test’s ability to detect syphilis depends on the stage of the disease. The test’s sensitivity to detect syphilis nears 100% during the middle stages; it is less sensitive during the earlier and later stages.

The following conditions may cause a false positive test:

  • HIV
  • Lyme disease
  • Certain types of pneumonia
  • Malaria
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

Risks of VDRL    

  • Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)


  • The body does not always produce antibodies specifically in response to the syphilis bacteria, so this test is not always accurate.
Information about the VDRL