What can cause a false positive test for syphilis?
My test results showed that I have syphilis, but I do not have any symptoms. I understand that there can be false positives for syphilis. What can cause a false positive test for syphilis, and will I still be able to get a work permit approved in Singapore if I have syphilis?
Thank you for the question. RPR or Rapid Plasma Reagent can be positive in other conditions besides syphilis. These include chronic liver disease, pregnancy, intravenous drug abuse, lupus and other viral and bacterial infections
If you have both RPR and TPPA reactive, then it is unlikely that there is false positive, as the confirmatory test of TPPA is also reactive.
In the absence of any symptoms of syphilis, this is likely to be due to late latent syphilis. This can be treated with benzathine penicillin injections and usually 3 injections will be required. You can visit the DSC clinic or your dermatologist for a more detailed assessment and treatment. Following documented treatment of syphilis, a work permit can still be issued.