Background Excluding HIV testing, point-of-care tests (POCTs) for STIs are not routinely available in UK sexual health clinics, apart from microscopy which has limited sensitivity, is observer dependent and often only allows for imprecise syndromic treatment. From sample-to-result for routine Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) molecular tests usually takes several days. Molecular and non-molecular STI-POCTs, including automated urine flow cytometry, may improve patient pathways, obviate the need for microscopy and personalise treatment effectively.
Methods This was a clinic evaluation using a rapid molecular test for CT/NG (Cepheid GeneXpert; 90 minute turnaround) combined with non-molecular POCTs for Trichomonas vaginalis (OSOM), Bacterial vaginosis (Alere VS-Sense) and automated urinary white cell count (WCC) for urethritis (Alere UF-100). Contacts of CT/NG, males with symptoms of urethritis, and symptomatic females provided samples immediately on arrival, prior to clinical consultation. Patients also concurrently had routine culture and microscopy.
ResultsOf eighteen patients providing feedback, all but one found providing samples on arrival acceptable; waiting < 2 hours was acceptable to all, but waiting > 2 hours was seen as too long. All patients waited for the results of their non-molecular POCT but only three of nineteen men waited for the rapid GeneXpert results, despite six being positive. All positive patients were given appropriate empirical treatment. A third of women waited despite all being GeneXpert negative. The TV and BV POCTs detected more cases than microscopy, and urethral smear detected more urethritis than automated WCC.
Conclusion Despite the provision of genital samples on arrival being acceptable and patients liking the idea of receiving results in the same clinical visit, only a quarter of all patients waited for their GeneXpert results. Larger studies to evaluate the clinical impact of rapid molecular testing in clinic are required before any large scale implementation is considered.
- patient management
- point of care test
- Sexual health clinic