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.
Goldman JN, Lantz MA. FTA-ABS and VDRL Slide Test Reactivity in a Population of Nuns. JAMA. 1971;217(1):53-55. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190010035007