Syphilis Test Kit
How to test yourself for syphilis at home
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. You can catch it if you have sex with someone who is infected with the bacteria Treponema pallidum. If you think you may have syphilis, you should get tested as early as possible because it can have some serious complications if left untreated.. You can conveniently test yourself for syphilis at home using one of our test kits.
1 test kit(s) - £34.99
About the syphilis test kit
How our service works
The process is quick and easy – just follow these simple steps:
- Fill out a short online assessment
- Place an order for your preferred test option
- Your order will be checked and approved if appropriate
- It can then it can be posted to your preferred address or you can collect it from a local post office instead
How to use the test kit
Your syphilis test kit contains three lances (pin-prick needles) and a collection tube. Use the test kit as follows:
- Before you take your sample, you should wash your hands with warm soapy water (it is difficult to collect blood if your hands are cold)
- Dry your hands and use the included alcotip swab to clean the fingertip you would like to use
- You should use the third or fourth finger of your non-dominant hand (opposite to the one you write with)
- Twist and remove the purple stick from one lancet, put it on your fingertip and press the purple button at the end – don’t worry if it doesn’t work straight away, you can use one of the remaining two lances to try again
- You should notice a small drop of blood forming on your fingertip, where your skin has been punctured
- Use a clean tissue to wipe the first drop away, hold your hand downwards and massage the side of your finger to form another drop of blood
- Use your other hand to gently squeeze the finger you are using and catch the drops in the collection tube
- You should fill the small tube to the upper line
- If you are unable to fill it, please use an additional lancet on another finger to complete the sample
- Once your sample is complete, you can use the supplied plaster to stop the bleeding, put the screw lid on the collection tube, making sure it is closed securely
- Please make sure you put your details on the sticky label and affix it on the tube – the lab will not be able to analyse your sample otherwise
- You then need to put your sample tube inside the protective wallet and put the wallet into the prepaid envelope, along with your used lancets
- You can use any UK post box to send your test kit back to the lab
How the results work
Once the laboratory receives your blood sample, your results should be ready within 2-3 days. You will be able to access your results by logging into your account.
Your results will state whether you have tested positive or negative for the infection:
- Positive means you have the infection
- Negative means you don’t have the infection
The test used to determine whether you have syphilis is a blood test. It is a convenient way to test your syphilis status without having to see a doctor.
About the syphilis test kit:
- Your kit will contain 3 lances and a collection tube
- You will provide a sample of blood from your finger
- The sample will be used to test if you have syphilis
Your results will be provided to you via your account. They should be ready within 2-3 days of the laboratory receiving your sample.
What does the test look for?
If you have syphilis, you will have been infected with a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. As a result, your body will produce antibodies (a form of protein) to try to fight the infection which will be present in your bloodstream. Therefore, your blood sample will be tested for the antibody to diagnose the infection.
You are at risk of being infected with syphilis if you have:
- had unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex
- shared sex toys
- injected drugs and shared needles with an infected person
Syphilis infections have different stages and each stage can have different symptoms. Sometimes you can have no obvious symptoms at all. The possible symptoms include:
Primary syphilis symptoms:
- A small painless sore called a ‘chancre’ found on the penis, vagina or around the anus
- If you have had sexual contact it may appear on the fingers, mouth, lips or buttocks
- Your glands in your neck, groin or armpits may swell
Secondary syphilis symptoms:
- A blotchy red rash often on the palms or soles of your feet
- White patches in your mouth
- Growths like genital warts on the vulva or around the anus
- Joint pain
- Patchy hair loss
The primary symptoms of syphilis will usually go away within eight weeks but this does not mean the infection has gone. If you don’t receive treatment, the infection will develop into the secondary stage, known as secondary syphilis.
Secondary syphilis symptoms will also disappear, but before then they may come and go. However, even though the symptoms may have disappeared you will still be infected. This is called latent syphilis and can last for decades. If you leave syphilis untreated it can lead to serious health problems. Therefore, if you suspect there is a possibility you have been infected, you should get tested straight away.
You should consider testing as soon as you think you may have been infected with syphilis. However, it can take up to 13 weeks for syphilis to show up on a test after you catch it, so if you have a test earlier than 13 weeks and it comes up negative for syphilis, you should repeat it again after 13 weeks.
If you put off being tested and you do have the infection, you can be putting yourself and other people you infect at risk of further complications. If left untreated, syphilis can go on to damage your heart, brain, nervous system and bones even years after the initial infection.
The later stage of syphilis can lead to:
- heart problems
- loss of coordination
If your results are positive and you have syphilis, you should:
- inform all your sexual partners that you have syphilis so they can get tested
- get treatment for the infection
- avoid all sexual contact until two weeks after your treatment has ended
If your results are negative, you should:
- get retested if you think you may have very recently been infected because the infection may not show in the very early stages
- practice safe sex in the future
- if you’re an injecting drug user, avoid sharing needles
If you have syphilis, you will be treated with a short course of antibiotics. Treatment is essential because the infection rarely goes away on its own.
Antibiotics are usually enough for treating the infection, but the type of antibiotics you will be prescribed will depend on how long you have had syphilis for:
- If you have had syphilis for less than two years, you will either be injected with penicillin or prescribed up to 14 days of antibiotic tablets if you are unable to take penicillin
- For syphilis which has lasted for over two years, you will usually need three penicillin injections or a 28-day course of antibiotic tablets
You can get treatment from:
- A genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic
- Your doctor’s surgery
You should avoid having sex or sexual contact until two weeks after you and your partner(s) have finished initial treatment and any further follow-up treatment.
If you or your partner have any sores or rashes, you should avoid any sexual contact until these have fully healed, and also at least two weeks after treatment has ended.
Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos graduated from the University of London in 2006. He did his postgraduate training in hospitals in the London area, and he trained for four years in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery before completing his training in General practice in 2015.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 21 Nov 2018
Janier, M. et al (2014). European Guideline on the Management of Syphilis. JEADV.
Sexwise (2018). Syphilis. [online]. FPA. Available at: https://sexwise.fpa.org.uk/stis/syphilis [accessed 19th November 2018].
Terrence Higgins Trust (2018). Syphilis. [online]. Terrence Higgins Trust. Available at: https://www.tht.org.uk/hiv-and-sexual-health/sexual-health/stis/syphilis [accessed 19th November 2018].