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Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2006 Mar;8(2):115-24.

Rapid tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1159 Ross Building, 720 Rutland Ave., Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Many molecular diagnostic tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have been described recently but are not often accessible to clinicians in practice. There is a need for rapid, easy-to-perform, and accurate diagnostic tests for clinicians, especially for use in developing countries, where sophisticated laboratory support is often unavailable. Rapid tests, often termed "point-of-care" (POC) tests, can be performed in less than an hour in the doctor's office, clinic, or in a field setting. If simple laboratory equipment is available, a health care worker or clinician can make an immediate diagnosis of a STD. Progress has been made in the development of POC tests for HIV, syphilis, trichomonas, and bacterial vaginosis, but more work is needed for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Improvements in POCs will allow for faster treatment or provision of interventions in infected persons, in order to prevent transmission to partners or infants, thereby enabling effective control efforts for STDs.


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