Sexually Transmitted Infections – Rapid Testing at the Point of Care
Urgency, Challenges and Advances in STI Testing
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a major global health issue, with over 30 pathogens causing an estimated one million infections daily, a number that is rising. Surveillance programs in countries like the United States and Canada have reported an increase in STIs such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia. STIs can have serious consequences for sexual health, including infertility and chronic pelvic pain, particularly affecting women. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognised the urgency of addressing this problem and has recommended measures to end the STI healthcare issue by 2030. Integrated testing, including multiplex and point-of-care testing, is considered essential. However, implementation of these recommendations at regional and national levels is lacking. Rapid point-of-care PCR tests that can detect multiple pathogens simultaneously would greatly improve STI diagnosis and containment. Currently, Randox, in collaboration with Bosch offers two STI test panels on the Vivalytic POC system: Vivalytic STI and Vivalytic MG, MH, UP/UU panels, capable of detecting multiple pathogens in a single test run, with results available within hours.
The Global Burden
- The WHO estimates 374 million new infections of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis annually.
- Chlamydia is the most frequently reported STI in Europe, followed by gonorrhoea and syphilis.
- Countries with comprehensive STI screening programs, like Denmark, have higher prevalence rates than the European average.
- The UK has a comprehensive screening program for chlamydia targeting 15-24-year-olds, with cases accounting for 60% of total cases in the European Region.
- The actual infection rate in countries without systematic screening is likely higher than official figures suggest.
- Reported cases of gonorrhoea and syphilis in the European Region have increased, particularly among certain age groups and higher numbers in men than women.
Gaps in Current STI Testing Strategies
The European Centre for Disease Prevention (ECDC) acknowledges the growing concern of STIs in Europe and emphasises the importance of testing in their recent report. While various European countries have screening programs for chlamydia, testing options for other STI pathogens are usually limited. The lack of accessible testing, combined with the prevalence of asymptomatic infections, increases the risk of STI transmission and hampers containment efforts. Prevention campaigns and low-threshold testing opportunities are crucial to address the spread of STIs. The UK’s chlamydia screening program, implemented in 2008, demonstrated the benefits of community-based testing services and led to a significant increase in diagnosed cases, reducing the number of unreported cases.
Infections and Co-Infections
- Co-infections, where multiple sexually transmitted pathogens are present simultaneously, are common but often go undetected due to limited testing.
- Symptoms of co-infections can be difficult to differentiate since different pathogens can cause similar or overlapping symptoms.
- However, most STIs, even in high-risk groups, are caused by a single sexually transmitted pathogen.
- In cases where co-infections need to be detected, a rapid and comprehensive differential diagnosis of sexually transmitted pathogens is crucial for initiating appropriate therapy promptly.
The Importance of Rapid Results at the Point of Care
- Rapid detection and treatment of STIs are crucial to prevent further spread.
- Traditional STI diagnostics in specialized laboratories can result in delays of several days or up to 1-2 weeks until test results are available to the physician.
- Delays occur due to transportation of samples, laboratory workflow, result transfer, and scheduling additional appointments.
- The delay in treatment initiation can lead to decreased patient compliance and missed appointments.
The Vivalytic STI test provides results directly at the point of care (POC) in less than two and a half hours. It eliminates the need for sample transportation to a central laboratory. In addition, patients can receive their test results on the same day of the visit, allowing for immediate initiation of appropriate treatment.
In a Nutshell
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) spread due to various factors. Many STIs do not show symptoms, resulting in numerous unreported and untreated cases that can have fatal consequences depending on the specific pathogen. Increasing awareness and implementing a decentralised low-threshold testing strategy can significantly reduce infections, particularly among high-risk groups. Speed and comprehensive testing of relevant pathogens are crucial for targeted therapy and containing STIs. Rapid PCR tests used at the point of care (POC) are emerging as important technologies due to their advantages. Patients receive same-day results and immediate treatment, providing clarity in just one visit. Clinicians can provide up-to-date diagnoses and treatments, even in decentralised or hospital settings, benefiting high-risk patients with limited access to healthcare.
The Bosch Vivalytic, is an advanced and automated platform for molecular diagnostics that utilises PCR to detect pathogens. It offers applications for various medical disciplines and requires only a few steps from sample collection to obtaining results. The patient sample is processed automatically within the Vivalytic analyser, and the test result is displayed on its integrated screen. The time it takes to get results depends on the specific Vivalytic application. For the STI Panel, which simultaneously detects 10 common sexually transmitted pathogens, the time to result is 2.5 hours. On the other hand, the Vivalytic MG, MH, UP/UU panel, used to detect mycoplasmas and/or ureaplasmas, provides results in approximately one hour.
By conducting fully automated analyses at the point of care, Vivalytic saves valuable time for hospitals, labs, genitourinary clinics and doctor’s offices during their routine processes.
|STI Panel||MG, MH, UP, UU Panel|
|Chlamydia trachomatis||Mycoplasma genitalium|
|Neisseria gonorrhoeae||Mycoplasma hominis|
|Trichomonas vaginalis||Ureaplasma parvum/Ureaplasma|
|Herpes simplex virus I|
|Herpes simplex virus II|
At a Glance
- The Vivalytic system allows fully automated sample analysis with minimal manual steps.
- It eliminates the need for expensive and complex laboratory equipment.
- Vivalytic supports both single and multiplex tests.
- The Vivalytic does not require peripheral equipment such as a laptop, keyboard, barcode scanner, or charging station.
- The cartridge used in the system ensures hygienic and safe operation as a closed system.
- Cartridges can be stored and used at room temperature.
- Vivasuite, a cloud-based solution, facilitates convenient device management.
- The Vivalytic can be seamlessly integrated into existing IT structures using HL7, Ethernet, USB, or WLAN.
02 March 2021
The Global Economic Burden of STIs & The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Sexual Health Whitepaper Download
Sexual Health encompasses; genito-urinary medicine, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, contraception, psychosexual medicine, abortion services, teenage pregnancy and sexual and reproductive health. It is delivered in various settings, providing care across specialised services as well as through primary and third sector organisations.
Sexual and reproductive health is a fundamental public health issue and is clearly recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This whitepaper focuses on the profound impact of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) worldwide with WHO reporting that more than 1 million STIs are acquired every day (WHO, 2020).
The whitepaper discusses issues such as antimicrobial resistance, in particular gonorrhoea, and the challenges faced in a social and public concept due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The prevalence of STIs
More than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites known to be transmitted through sexual contact and therefore over 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide.
As a result the requirement for multiplex diagnostic testing has become increasingly prevalent, as many STIs can co-exist.
Sexual Health Week
Sexual Health Week, which takes place on 24th – 28th September each year, highlights the importance of safe sex. If you have recently entered a new relationship, experienced unprotected sex or are planning a family you may wish to avail of an STI test to determine your current sexual health status and take appropriate corresponding action.
The thought of sexual health testing however can often be nerve-wracking and embarrassing, which is why we offer a home testing kit called Confidante, which enables you to be tested for 10 of the most common STIs from the comfort of your own home.
You can purchase your test kit in complete confidence as transactions are handled safely and securely.
STIs tested with Confidante
|· Chlamydia||· Trichomonas Vaginalis|
|· Gonorrhoea||· Mycoplasma Hominis|
|· Syphilis||· Mycoplasma Genitalium|
|· Herpes Simplex 1||· Ureaplasma Urealyticum|
|· Herpes Simplex 2||· Chancroid|
The process is simple and easy to follow:
- Buy Online
- Register Kit Online
- Collect Sample and Post
- Receive Results
Confidante is specifically designed to be straightforward to use, with all you need included in our discreetly packaged kit. We have made the entire process as convenient as possible with pre-paid envelopes and user-friendly instructions to ensure a simple, hassle-free process.
You will receive your confidential results in 7 working days of posting your sample either via email or telephone depending upon your section on the test order form.
To order your STI kit visit https://www.confidantetest.com/
For further information please contact email@example.com or phone 028 9442 2413
- New STI awareness campaign infects digital and social media
- ‘Mockumentary’ promotes revolutionary new STI home test
- Thousands caught out by spoof STI and sniffer dog squad
- Leading sexual health charity praises timing of campaign as Christmas Party season kicks in
British biotechnology company Randox Laboratories, continues to break new ground, with a spoof documentary to promote its home STI test, Confidante. The award winning firm, recognised internationally for its leading diagnostic technologies, is proving that it is also ahead of the curve when it comes to promoting its products.
Thousands have been caught out by the ‘mockumentary’ which follows the officers and dogs of the STI Detection unit as they sniff out undetected STIs around the UK.
The film, which shows unsuspecting punters outed in public by sniffer dogs Radar, Frisbee and their handlers, ends with an invitation to ‘check your privates in private’ with the Confidante test. The light-hearted strategy is designed to prompt 25-34 year olds to think about their sexual health and get tested.
Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, said:
“So far, ten thousand people a day are watching the mockumentary, we expect this to grow as the campaign continues. For us it is ultimately about improving health, raising awareness of STIs and encouraging people get tested, we’ve opened up what can be a taboo subject and have done so with humour!
Every day one million people across the world are infected with an STI and at home incidents are continuing to soar – in the UK we are seeing worrying levels of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis in particular; we want people to take their sexual health seriously and regular testing is a key part of that”.
Sexual health charity FPA has applauded the timing and effectiveness of the campaign. Natika Halil, director of health and wellbeing, said:
“This has clearly created something of a talking point around STIs, which is particularly important in the run up to Christmas and New Year parties as we know people are less likely to think of infections after they have been drinking.
If you have sex without a condom then you are at risk of getting an STI, and not everyone who has an infection has signs or symptoms – so it’s possible to pass it on without realising.”
The infectious digital content has been produced Randox Marketing and creative agency Langland. Randox Marketing Manager, Chris Henry said they wanted something that would start people talking about STIs:
“Our goal was to engage a whole new audience of potential customers who may be too embarrassed to take their sexual health seriously. We believe this campaign does exactly that, communicating the shock of being exposed in public, but doing it with humour, in a way people can engage with without feeling they are publically declaring they have an STI.”
Confidante is the world’s first STI home test kit, to detect 10 common STIs and can be used in the privacy of the home. It uses Randox’s unique Biochip Array Technology, with results delivered within 7 working days, confidentially, via a nurse specialist, either by phone or email. Advice, GP appointments, treatments are available through the Randox Healthcare division, Randox Health.