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Excellence in sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnostics: recognition of past successes and strategies for the future
  1. A Ronald1,
  2. J Kuypers2,
  3. S A Lukehart3,
  4. R W Peeling4,
  5. V Pope5
  1. 1National Collaborating Center for Infectious Diseases, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  2. 2Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington, USA
  3. 3University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  4. 4Sexually Transmitted Diseases Diagnostics Initiative (SDI), World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  5. 5Formerly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Rosanna W Peeling
 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Diagnostics Initiative (SDI), WHO/TDR/PDE, 20, Avenue Appia, 1211, Geneva 27, Switzerland; peelingr{at}


Diagnostic advances do not generally receive the recognition given to prevention and treatment contributions, for the control and management of infectious diseases including sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In order to identify seminal diagnostic contributions over a half century (1950–2000), the Editorial Board of the WHO Sexually Transmitted Diseases Diagnostics Initiative (SDI) Publication Review or “electronic journal club” were asked to nominate their choices of peer-reviewed publications for special recognition. From 43 nominations, 13 were voted by a panel of 25 “experts” as having made the most significant contributions. The 1964 article by Thayer and Martin, which identified a selective media for gonococcal culture, was chosen unanimously by all panel members and is identified as the classic STI diagnostic article for this era.

  • EIA, enzyme immunoassays
  • ELISA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
  • FTA, fluorescent treponemal antibody
  • FTA-ABS, fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption
  • HPV, human papillomavirus
  • HSV, herpes simplex virus
  • MHA-TP, microhaemagglutination assay for T pallidum antibodies
  • MIF, microimmunofluorescence
  • M-PCR, multiplex polymerase chain reaction
  • NAA, nucleic acid amplification
  • NAH, nucleic acid hybridisation
  • PCR, polymerase chain reaction
  • POC, point-of-care
  • RPR, rapid plasma reagin
  • SDI, Sexually Transmitted Diseases Diagnostics Initiative, STI, sexually transmitted infection
  • TPI, Treponema pallidum immobilisation
  • VCN, vancomycin, colistin and nystatin
  • VDRL, venereal disease research laboratory
  • WHO, World Health Organization
  • diagnostics
  • excellence
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • STI

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  • Competing interests: none declared