Need for syphilis screening and counselling in HIV counselling and testing centres: A curtain raiser study from north India


  • Conflict of Interest: On behalf of the authors I, Dr Vijaya Lakshmi Nag, the corresponding author, declare that there is no conflict of interest existing in this study and the corresponding manuscript. I am also to declare that the study is purely based on preserved sera and does not involve anyway with the identity of the individuals. There is no direct interaction of the authors with the individuals. Hence, the ethical clearance was not needed.

Dr Vijaya Lakshmi Nag, Department of Microbiology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Raibareli Road, Lucknow, 226014, India. Email:


Background: Voluntary counselling and testing centres (VCTC) are important HIV screening points for the population with suspicion or apprehension for HIV, because of high-risk exposures. Theoretically, these are also at the risk of having co-infections, commonest being syphilis. The present short-term study was aimed at knowing the sero-reactivity of syphilis among a study cohort attending the VCTC in King George's Medical University, Lucknow, India.

Method: During a 2.5-month period, 49 HIV-positive and 171 HIV-negative sera were tested for venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL). The positive sera were further tested for treponema pallidum haemagglutination (TPHA).

Result: Eleven (22.4%) HIV-positive sera and 104 (60.8%) HIV-negative sera were VDRL-reactive (1:8 dilutions). Of these, TPHA was reactive in three (27.3%) and four (3.9%), respectively.

Conclusion: The result might suggest the need for routine screening and counselling for syphilis at VCTC. Studies from other centres on larger population are required.