What is VDRL Test?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 12/10/2023

Syphilis is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) not just in India but all over the world. While it begins as a painless sore, it may get severe and even lead to mortality when left untreated. But the good thing is, it is curable. It means if you detect the infection in the early stages, you can cure it very effectively. This is where the VDRL test comes in.

VDRL is a diagnostic test used for detecting the presence of syphilis in patients.

If you are experiencing symptoms of syphilis and planning to take the VDRL blood test, this guide is for you. In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about the VDRL test, including its meaning, uses, requirements, test results, and more. Keep reading!

VDRL Full Form- What is the VDRL Test?

Venereal Disease Research Laboratory, or simply VDRL test, is a type of blood test used to identify the presence of syphilis in the patient’s body. Instead of looking for the disease-causing bacteria, this test procedure looks for the presence of antibodies produced by your body to fight the damage-causing bacteria.

VDRL is a diagnostic test that helps doctors to confirm whether you have syphilis or not.

When to Take the VDRL Blood Test?

Now that you know what the VDRL test means, let’s discuss when you should consider taking this test. Following are the common symptoms for which you may be recommended a VDRL test by your doctor:

Painless sores around the rectum, genitals, or mouth

  • Skin rashes

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Fever

Besides these symptoms, you should also consider taking a VDRL test if you are sexually active with a syphilis-infected person. Moreover, pregnant women are sometimes also suggested to take a VDRL test to avoid the chances of their disease being transmitted to the baby.

How to Read the VDRL Test Report?

Coming to the most important part, how to read syphilis test reports.

Reading and understanding the VDRL test results is fairly simple as it includes the positive and negative statuses.

VDRL test positive means that syphilis antibodies are detected in your blood sample. It means you are infected with syphilis. But not that these results are not always 100% accurate. There are many other infections like pneumonia and HIV that trigger a false positive test result. To rule this possibility out, doctors usually suggest taking a fluorescent treponemal assay test after a positive VDRL result to confirm the infection.

On the other hand, VDRL test negative means that no syphilis antibodies are found in your blood sample. Simply put, a negative result shows that you are not infected with syphilis.

What Are the Chances of Getting False VDRL Test Results?

Although the VDRL test shows accurate results most of the time, it may lead to false negatives and false positives in certain cases. Below are the common conditions that may trigger false results of a VDRL test procedure:

  • Hepatitis A

  • Tuberculosis

  • Malaria

  • Lupus

  • Leprosy

  • IV drug usage

  • Infectious mononucleosis

  • Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome

  • Pneumonia

  • Lyme disease

Besides, a VDRL test taken during the initial months of pregnancy may also lead to a positive result even when you are not infected by syphilis. Similarly, your test may show negative results even when you are infected with syphilis. This mainly happens when your body fails to produce enough antibodies to fight the disease-causing bacteria. Further, inaccurate results can also be due to negligence. Hence, it is recommended to take your VDRL test at a trusted and reliable diagnostic center.

For these reasons, it is always recommended to get additional tests done for the confirmation of the disease.

Possible Side-effects of the VDRL Test Procedure

It is safe to say that VDRL tests do not lead to any severe complications or risks in the majority of cases. However, there can be mild side effects after giving blood samples for the VDRL test. These include:

  • Redness and pain around the injection site

  • Light-headedness

  • Drowsiness

Moreover, if you go through a lumbar puncture for collecting CSF, the following complications may occur:

  • Pain in leg

  • Pain in lower back

  • Mild to severe headache

  • Fainting

  • Tingling sensation in legs or lower back

  • Infection or bleeding in/around the injection site

Generally, these side effects go back on their own after a couple of hours of taking the test. But if you continue to experience these complications, inform your doctor or healthcare provider so that they can take necessary measures.

How to Prepare for the VDRL Blood Test

There are no specific requirements for a VDRL test. It is a simple and straightforward process. But there are tips that will help you prepare for your test in a relaxed way:

  • No fasting requirement. It means you can eat and drink as usual.

  • In some cases, external supplements or medications may alter the test results. Thus, keep your healthcare provider informed if you are on such remedies.

  • Avoid alcohol or any kind of intoxication before the test.

  • Stay hydrated and, most importantly, stay relaxed.

Final Words

To wrap up, the VDRL test acts as an important diagnostic tool used for testing whether or not the patient has syphilis, a dangerous sexually transmitted bacterial infection. It is recommended for patients who are experiencing early symptoms of syphilis such as genital sores, rashes, swollen lymph nodes, and so on.

Remember, staying healthy requires more than diagnostic tests. A health insurance plan, for instance, takes care of your health and well-being. It ensures that you don’t have to deal with financial problems in the face of any medical emergencies.

Besides, the benefits of health insurance also include coverage for tests like VDRL and others. What’s more, some insurance plans may even allow you to get cashless treatment at the network hospitals.

That’s everything about the VDRL test procedure, including VDRL full form in medical tests, its normal range, test reports, and more. We hope it helps!


What should I do if I get a positive VDRL test result?

If you get a positive VDRL test result, it means that you have syphilis. In this case, it is recommended to get your report checked by a trusted doctor and start your treatment before the disease gets worse.

How long does it take to get a VDRL test result?

After giving your blood samples, you can expect the VDRL test report within 1-5 days of the test. Note that this period can be more or less depending on your diagnostic centre.

What is the normal range of VDRL tests?

The VDRL normal range is around 85-99% (RPR/VDRL).

What is the cost of the VDRL test in India?

The cost of a VDRL test in India starts from as low as ₹70 and goes up to ₹4,500 depending on factors such as your location, diagnostic centre, the severity of syphilis symptoms, and so on.

Does my medical insurance plan cover treatment for syphilis?

There are some health insurance plans that offer financial coverage for diseases like syphilis. To confirm whether or not your medical insurance policy offers such coverage, read your policy documents thoroughly or get in touch with your insurance provider.

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

Related Articles

Tata AIG Also Offers Insurance for the below products

Car Insurance

Two Wheeler Insurance

Travel Insurance

Health Insurance