[Question #1188] Herbal remedies, medicines and VDRL tests

49 months ago
Dear Dr Handsfield, or Dr Hook

Does the intake of any medicine or herbal remedy or vitamins,  affect the reliability of VDRL (syphilis) test result?
Is a negative VDRL test 3 months after exposure conclusive?
Does a Clinical Biochemist have the knowledge to conduct a VDRL test?

Thanks
Kostas
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
49 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your straightforward question.

A negative VDRL is rules out syphilis acquired any time more than about 6 weeks earlier; a negative result at 3 months is conclusive. No medications of any kind is known to alter test reliability and certainly no herbal remedies or vitamins would do so.

Almost anybody can be quickly trained to reliably perform a VDRL, which is technically simple. Many laboratories are run by clinical biochemists, but such a senior person rarely performs the test him- or herself. Usually it's a laboratory technician.

Best wishes and stay safe--  HHH, MD

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49 months ago
Does someone need to fast before having a VDRL test?

Thank again
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
49 months ago
Food intake has no effect. There is NOTHING known to interfere with the VDRL. Your negative results settles the issue:  you were not infected during whatever exposure 3 months earlier that you are concerned about.

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49 months ago
One last question Dr.

A few days ago, while i was swimming in the sea , i was bitten by a small fish. I didn't notice any bleeding. Is this a risk for transmission of Hiv, Hepatitis b/c, syphilis, or any other STD?  I am worried if the fish had bitten another infected person, before me.

Thanks
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
49 months ago
Of course this carried no risk. These are very abnormal thoughts. Abnormal fear of contamination or infection can be an early sign of serious mental health disability. For an excellent example where it can lead, see The Aviator, the biographical film about Howard Hughes. (It's a great movie, by the way.) If such fears are affecting your life as much as I suspect they are, you should seriously consider professional counseling. I suggest it from compassion, not criticism.

Each question on this forum comes with two follow-up comments and replies, so this concludes this thread. Best wishes and stay safe.

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