If Syphilis test is Non Reactive, is it possible that syphilis stay dormant and transmit to others

Posted , 2 users are following.

First, sorry about my english.

I am gay, so all the characters in this case are all guys.

One month after our first sex, my partner has chancre on his penis and 1-2 rashes on his balm, so he went for the blood test and got positive result for Syphilis.

He believed that he got it from me because he didn't have any sex for 6 months, also he has his blood tested with negative result 3 months after his last sex before me. Plus, I did have sex with someone else around 3 weeks before our first sex.

However, around 7 weeks after that sex with my previous guy (or 4 weeks after the first sex with my current partner), I got HIV/Syphilis result as Non Reactive. Also I have tested again after my partner got positive result, my TPHA result is still Non Reactive. Plus, I don't have any symptoms like chancre on my penis or rashes on my palm or feet (I'm not sure if it can be in somewhere invisible, then i do not know) (however, I have eczema rashes on my body and legs)


1. Is it possible that I transmitted Syphilis to my current partner while I have no syphilitic sore and got a non reactive TPHA result (I'm top) or is it possible that I am just a carrier?

2. Is it possible that my partner got Syphilis from his ex and it stayed dormant and cannot be detected by blood test after the first 3 months, then symptoms just appeared and can be detected 7 months after infection.

3. if both are possible, which one is more likely.

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  • Posted

    I'm not 100% sure, but I think it's a lot more likely your current partner got it from you.  Syphilis can lie dormant for years, but I think it should still show up on a blood test.

    These links may help:


    https://patient.info/doctor/syphilis-pro  (written for doctors)

    Hope you're both cured soon, but please get tested again after treatment, to make sure that it's gone, and I think you're supposed to avoid sex (even with condoms) till then.

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    • Posted

      Sorry, but I was in a hurry when I wrote that, and assumed that you must have tested TPHA positive at some point and been cured.  (I also didn't realise that if you've ever had syphilis, then the TPHA test no longer works).  If you've never tested TPHA positive, and your partner was infected before your last test, then that makes it unlikely he got it from you.

      It looks like it's possible to have false negative TPHA results, but they're rare except for very recent infections or people who are very old or have compromised immune systems.  If you tested negative 7 weeks after your last exposure with another partner, that should mean you've never had syphilis.  Assuming your partner is telling the truth, he may have had a false positive on his TPHA test.  Has he had a VDRL test or another non-treponemal test?

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    • Posted

      Thanks again for helping me out. I'm really appreciated.

      No I never got positive result from TPHA. However, how can I find out if I have compromised immune systems and how to get more accurate Syphilis test in this case?

      When I was around 18-21, i took quite a lot of prednisone or prednisolone (i'm not sure which one) orally and also injection around 4 times for my eczema, could this rendered my immune system compromised?

      My partner, he got positive result from VDRL, he did not have TPHA test like mine because we went to the different hospital as we are not living in the same city. He also have his urine test. Plus, has chancre on his penis and 1-2 rashes on his palm. Should he have TPHA test to confirm? 

      and should I have VDRL test to confirm my negative result?

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