Syphilis screening

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aysha Anwar, M.B.B.S[2]

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Screening guidelines for syphilis include all high risk non-pregnant individuals aged 15-65, all pregnant females, men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women, and HIV positive individuals.[1] Routine screening of adolescents who are asymptomatic for syphilis is not recommended.[2][3]


Screening guidelines for syphilis are:

Non-pregnant adults and adolescents (age 15-65)

  • All individuals who are at increased risk for syphilis should be screened for syphilis Grade A recommendation.[1][4]
  • Routine screening of adolescents who are asymptomatic for syphilis is not recommended.[2]

Pregnant women

  • Uninsured women
  • Women living in poverty
  • Sex workers
  • Illicit drug users
  • Presence of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Other women living in communities with high syphilis morbidity

Men who have sex with men

  • Annually for sexually active men who have sex with men[5]
  • Every 3 to 6 months if increased risk

Women who have sex with women

  • Routine screening is recommended[2]

HIV positive individuals

  • At first HIV evaluation for sexually active individuals[5][6]
  • Annually after first evaluation
  • More frequent testing for individuals who are at increased risk or are residing in highly prevalent areas of syphilis

Screening tests

Screening tests recommended for syphilis include the following:[7]

Screening non-treponemal tests

Confirmatory treponemal tests


  1. 1.0 1.1 Accessed on September 19, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Accessed on September 19, 2016
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Accessed on September 19, 2016
  4. US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Bibbins-Domingo K, Grossman DC, Curry SJ, Davidson KW, Epling JW; et al. (2016). "Screening for Syphilis Infection in Nonpregnant Adults and Adolescents: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement". JAMA. 315 (21): 2321–7. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.5824. PMID 27272583.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Accessed on September 19, 2016
  6. Accesed on September 19, 2016
  7. Accessed on September 19, 2016
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ratnam S (2005). "The laboratory diagnosis of syphilis". Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol. 16 (1): 45–51. PMC 2095002. PMID 18159528.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Larsen SA, Steiner BM, Rudolph AH (1995). "Laboratory diagnosis and interpretation of tests for syphilis". Clin Microbiol Rev. 8 (1): 1–21. PMC 172846. PMID 7704889.

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