The University of Rochester Medical Center states that an RPR-reactivesyphilis test means there are antibodies for syphilis in the blood. A diagnostic test for the disease is typically given after a reactive result. A negative or "nonreactive" test means that the patient does not have syphilis.
URMC explains that a follow-up test screens for false-positive results, which sometimes occur with pregnancy, IV drug use, chronic liver disease and other infections. The RPR, rapid plasma reagin, test does not search for syphilis bacteria in the blood. Instead, it finds antibodies that a person's immune system has produced in response to the bacteria. The test is also used to assess how well treatment is progressing in a person with syphilis.