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Urgent Testing Question, Please Answer
Jan 1, 2009

Hi Dr. Bob,

You were kind enough to answer one of my questions in the past, and I hope that you will please answer this question for me as well, as I am suffering from a great deal of anxiety.

My wife and I have started fertility treatment, and the doctor has contacted us with some very alarming news that has caused an enormous amount of anxiety. After doing some std testing, he has told us that my wife has tested positive for syphilis. This has shocked both of us because we have been together for a very long time, and I am certain that my wife has had a very safe and clean past. In fact, she tested negative prior to our marriage, and she has not been with anyone since.

At first, I was horrified thinking that I may have infected her from a kissing experience that I had in a strip club about 1 month prior to her testing. As a result, I leveled with my wife, and I was fortunate enough that she was able to forgive me for this time of weakness and error in judgement.

Since this initial testing, we went to our primary doctor who ordered syphilis testing for both my wife and myself. Both tests came back negative. Quite confused, our primary doctor ordered another syphilis test for my wife to be done at a different lab facility. This test also came back negative. I think the tests done were an RPR and FTA, but I'm not certain. Right now, everyone is very confused, and we are very nervous.

My questions are:

1. Where do we go from here?

2. Does this mean that we are both negative?

3. Is it possible for my wife to test positive once and then negative twice (all within a 3 week time frame) and actually be positive?

4. Could I have contracted syphillis from french kissing and infected my wife(she tested posiitve about one month after this kissing episode. When she tested negative on her second test, I also tested negative as well. Then she tested negative a few days later with a different lab)?

I feel horrible about my actions and for the position that I placed myself in. It was very difficult, but leveling with my wife was the right thing to do, and fortunately, she was kind enough to forgive me for this.

However, this has obviously been a very stressful time for us, and I would greatly appreciate your knowledge and any advice you can give.

Thanks so much,

worried northener

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Worried Northerner,

1. I would surmise from the information you presented that your wife's initial test for syphilis was a "false positive" test. If you remain concerned, see an infectious diseases specialist. He can review your test results in detail and order more specific tests if needed.

2. Yes. That would be my interpretation based on the limited information provided.

3. No. This would be extremely unlikely (essentially impossible!). The more likely scenario is that the initial test was wrong ("false positive").

4. No. You have both tested negative.

Dr. Bob



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