Many innovative diagnostic technologies will become commercially available over the next 5-10 years. These tests can potentially transform the diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections but their introduction into control programmes can be hampered by health system constraints, and political, cultural, socioeconomic and behavioural factors. We used the introduction of syphilis rapid tests to illustrate the importance of programme science to address the gap between accruing evidence of acceptable test performance and the complexity of programme design, implementation and evaluation of test deployment to address public health needs and improve patient-important outcomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives
Point-of-care (POC) testing for chlamydia (CT) and gonorrhoea (NG) offers a new approach to the diagnosis and management of these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in remote Australian communities and other similar settings. Diagnosis of STIs in remote communities is typically symptom driven, and for those who are asymptomatic, treatment is generally delayed until specimens can be transported to the reference laboratory, results returned and the patient recalled. The objective of this study was to explore the clinical implications of using CT/NG POC tests in routine clinical care in remote settings.
In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with a purposively selected group of 18 key informants with a range of sexual health and laboratory expertise.
Participants highlighted the potential impact POC testing would have on different stages of the current STI management pathway in remote Aboriginal communities and how the pathway would change. They identified implications for offering a POC test, specimen collection, conducting the POC test, syndromic management of STIs, pelvic inflammatory disease diagnosis and management, interpretation and delivery of POC results, provision of treatment, contact tracing, management of client flow and wait time, and re-testing at 3 months after infection.
The introduction of POC testing to improve STI service delivery requires careful consideration of both its advantages and limitations. The findings of this study will inform protocols for the implementation of CT/NG POC testing, and also STI testing and management guidelines.
PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e100518. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0100518 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives With accurate molecular tests now available for diagnosis of chlamydia and gonorrhoea (Chlamydia trachomatis (CT)/Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG)) at the point-of-care (POC), we aimed to explore the public health implications (benefits and barriers) of their integration into remote primary care in Australia.
Methods Qualitative interviews were conducted with a purposively selected group of 18 key informants reflecting sexual health, primary care, remote Aboriginal health and laboratory expertise.
Results Participants believed that POC testing may decrease community prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and associated morbidity by reducing the time to treatment and infectious period and expediting partner notification. Also, POC testing could improve acceptability of STI testing, increase testing coverage and result in more targeted prescribing, thereby minimising the risk of antibiotic resistance. Conversely, some felt the immediacy of diagnosis could deter certain young people from being tested. Participants also noted that POC testing may reduce the completeness of communicable disease surveillance data given the current dependence on reporting from pathology laboratories. Others expressed concern about the need to maintain and improve the flow of NG antibiotic sensitivity data, already compromised by the shift to nucleic acid-based testing. This is particularly relevant to remote areas where culture viability is problematic.
Conclusions Results indicate a high level of support from clinicians and public health practitioners for wider access to CT/NG POC tests citing potential benefits, including earlier, more accurate treatment decisions and reductions in ongoing transmission. However, the data also highlight the need for new systems to avoid adverse impact on disease surveillance.
Trial registration number Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12613000808741.
BMJ Open 04/2015; 5(4):e006922. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006922 · 2.27 Impact Factor
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