The venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) test is used to detect if a person has been infected with the bacteria causing syphilis, which is a sexually transmitted disease. The test detects the presence of antibodies against the bacteria Treponema pallidum. This test is only indicative, and if positive, it must be followed up with another blood test to make a definitive diagnosis of syphilis.
When it's done:
The test is performed if a person shows signs and symptoms of sexually transmitted illness. It is a routine test performed during pregnancy to check if there is a possibility of you suffering from syphilis.
The possible symptoms include:
- A small painless sore
- Swelling in the lymph nodes near the sore
- Skin rash that does not cause itching
When to Avoid:
There is no specific condition as to when this test should be avoided.
How to prepare:
No special preparation is needed. A blood sample is taken. The test is not always accurate as the body may not always produce antibodies upon exposure to the bacteria causing syphilis. The test is less sensitive during the early and late stages of the disease.