Syphilis Re-infection?

Question

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

Answer

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