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Healthcare delivery systems are rapidly evolving, and in the present economic environment, accurate and cost effective point-of-care (POC) tests are a way forward to achieve immediate laboratory diagnosis for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including chlamydia. However, a robust and reliable POC test for genital chlamydia infection is yet to become available. This editorial describes what constitutes an ideal POC test, highlights issues about introducing POC testing for chlamydia in resource-rich countries like the UK, and also summarises the finding of various studies in this area.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency defines POC testing as ‘any analytical test performed for a patient by a healthcare professional outside the conventional laboratory setting’.1 This does not incorporate direct testing by the consumers at home.1 The POC tests for STIs should ideally meet the ‘ASSURED’ criteria (affordable, sensitive, specific, user-friendly, rapid and robust, equipment-free and delivered).2 These tests are being used in haematology and biochemistry; for infectious diseases, POC testing has been successfully used for HIV, malaria and syphilis.3 At present, such an ‘ASSURED’ POC test does not exist for chlamydia.
In the UK, genital Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) continues to be the most frequent treatable bacterial STI. Asymptomatic chlamydia infection can maintain onward transmission unless detected by screening and subsequently treated. The highest prevalence of chlamydia infection is seen in young adults of <25 years of age, …
Contributors CAI initiated this work, AJ undertook the review of existing data and prepared the manuscript, AJ and CI edited and approved the final manuscript.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.