Hey everybody! Lets take a breath and sort through some facts here. Please pass this on to all producers and talent so we can all understand what exactly is going on.
Here are the facts:
If you have tested positive for syphilis in the past, and have taken the medication to clear it up (penicillin), your test will always come back positive in the future. That is because you have been exposed and your body produced anitbodies to fight it. It is the same also in the case of hepatitis. If you have been exposed OR vaccinated, you will always test positive for it.
So what does that mean for you as talent? If you have had syphilis in the past, let the producers know ahead of time as you may have been asked to test this week and tell them when you tested positive for it in the past and that you took the medication prescibed. If you are testing now because of recent reports, do not panic. It is unclear if the person who tested at TTS had it prior and had taken the medication. It does not mean that this has anything to do with what is happening in Europe. There is no information at this time regarding the talent in Europe as to whether or not these positive results were the result of talent having been exposed years earlier and given proper treatment.
If you have been testing with TTS in the past, you will find that you have been tested for syphilis in the test marked RPR. Keep in mind, that if you have been tested up to the last month and are clear, most likely you have nothing to worry about. You should go and test this week in order for the industry to make sure there is no connection with the cases in Europe. Let Europe get to the bottom of that.
In the end, there is no way to connect these two events, mainly because we don’t have access to the medical history of the talent tested in Europe.
Producers, it’s important you know the truth about what this means. Don’t be quick to replace talent or cancel shoots based on a positive syphilis test. Speak with the talent and determine if this is a case of an old exposure. If it’s not, then talent and producers need to do what’s necessary and get the talent treated and the show continuing. If it is an old case, then you will know that you can proceed.
Talent, if you have a past exposure to this, be prepared to talk to producers and let them know that it was a past event and most likely the reason for a positive test, if you should test again during these couple of weeks. Be prepared to provide dates, testing locations and a paper trail showing this past event and that you were treated properly.
Also, be aware of symptoms if you’ve never had syphilis and visit a doctor for an examination if you are unsure after self examination. You can find a description here.