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In our first editorial as Editors in 2003, we anticipated some of the challenges that lay ahead in the field of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and outlined a role for STI in providing both an evidence base and up-to-date reviews of key issues.1 One key area was diagnostics:
“There are exciting developments in diagnostic techniques that increase sensitivity and specificity, identify subtypes, and may provide rapid answers in near patient tests. The impact of these advances is yet to be fully felt.”1
The impact is now starting to be felt, and we are addressing this in a number of ways in the journal. In this issue we include a debate on the motion that near-patient testing will improve the control of STIs. This topic was initially discussed at the Health Protection Agency conference in 2005, with contributions from Paul Ward and Gillian Dean.2,3 Ward outlines the potential contribution of point-of-care tests in reducing delays in accessing sexual health services through moving more testing outside of traditional clinics; empowering patients by allowing them a greater say in where, when and …