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Syphilis Re-infection?
May 9, 2015

I tested positive for syphilis in September at 1:16. I took the 3 weeks of shots of penicillin and tested again in November at 1:2. Now it is May and I did a routine test and have a 1:16 again. The doctor suggests I was re-infected. My partner is upset because he thinks I cheated. I have not cheated and only been with him since my diagnosis. He has tested negative for syphilis. What could explain my increase of titer? Is it possible to get re-infected/have an increase of titer without cheating and with my partner not being positive?

Thanks

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

Reinfection with syphilis can certainly occur, but a change in RPR titers to 1:16 may or may not be indicative of this. Titers can easily fluctuate up to 3 2-fold dilutions (i.e., from 1:2 to 1:16) Usually, a recent (re)infection will cause titers to be much higher.

Hope that helps. BY


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