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Reactive Arthritis

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A diagnosis of reactive arthritis is based on the person's symptoms, medical history, and physical examination. There are a few tests that may be ordered to help make a diagnosis. These include:

Health practitioners may also order tests to identify the infection that triggered the reaction, such as:

  • Synovial fluid analysis – to look for an infection in the joint
  • Chlamydia test – to look for evidence of infection by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis; if this is positive, early treatment can reduce arthritis progression.
  • Stool culture – to look for Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Yersinia
  • HIV antibody test – to determine if someone is HIV-positive, although it is generally thought that reactive arthritis is related to other infections to which those with HIV have been exposed rather than to HIV infection itself.

A few tests may be ordered to rule out other causes of the symptoms:

Non-laboratory tests include X-rays that may be performed to examine the joint for any damage or inflammation or to rule out other types of arthritis.

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