Until There’s a Cure…
SAAF offers new rapid syphilis test
Syphilis test results in 10 minutes
Syphilis rates in San Antonio are three times higher than the rest of the state and seven times the national average, according to Metropolitan Health District. In an effort to get more people tested and prevent the spread of syphilis, the San Antonio AIDS Foundation (SAAF, /sāf/) is now offering a rapid syphilis test at their testing office, located at 333 S. Hackberry St.
“Prevention of the spread of syphilis starts with you knowing your status,” said Andrea Moutria, SAAF’s lead test counselor. “The only way to know if you’re infected is to get tested regularly. Making syphilis screening more convenient should influence sexually active individuals to test more frequently.”
The Syphilis Health Check test is a finger stick test that provides results in just 10 minutes, compared to the previous blood-draw test, which provided results in five to seven business days. The test is just as accurate as the blood-draw test, with an accuracy rate of more than 97 percent.
The blood-draw test will still be available for people who have had syphilis in the past and want to test for a new infection (because once an individuals has had syphilis, they will always test positive for the infection), as well as for confirmatory testing for those who test positive.
Testing for syphilis is important not just because it helps prevent the spread of the infection, but because it can help prevent HIV, as well. “Syphilis and other STD infections greatly increase the likelihood of contracting or spreading HIV, so knowledge of status and prompt treatment if infected will reduce your risk of contracting or spreading HIV,” said Moutria.
SAAF offers HIV and STD testing six days a week. The tests are free and confidential, and minors do not need a parent’s consent to take the test.