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July 5, 1971

FTA-ABS and VDRL Slide Test Reactivity in a Population of Nuns

Author Affiliations

From the Eye Research Laboratories, Department of Ophthalmology, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC (Dr. Goldman), and the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory, Venereal Disease Branch, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta (Miss Lantz).

JAMA. 1971;217(1):53-55. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190010035007

Although the fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption (FTA-ABS) test is extremely sensitive and widely utilized as a confirmatory test for syphilis, additional data are needed concerning its specificity. The FTA-ABS tests performed on the serum samples of 250 female lifelong celibates with no history of acquired or congenital syphilis indicated less than a 1% incidence of unexplained, probably false-positive reactions. None of the serum samples were reactive to venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) slide testing.