Bridging the gap between development of point-of-care nucleic acid testing and patient care for sexually transmitted infections


The incidence rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including the four major curable STIs – chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and, syphilis – continue to increase globally, causing medical cost burden and morbidity especially in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). There have seen significant advances in diagnostic testing, but commercial antigen-based point-of-care tests (POCTs) are often insufficiently sensitive and specific, while near-point-of-care (POC) instruments that can perform sensitive and specific nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) are technically complex and expensive, especially for LMIC. Thus, there remains a critical need for NAAT-based STI POCTs that can improve diagnosis and curb the ongoing epidemic. Unfortunately, the development of such POCTs has been challenging due to the gap between researchers developing new technologies and healthcare providers using these technologies. This review aims to bridge this gap. We first present a short introduction of the four major STIs, followed by a discussion on the current landscape of commercial near-POC instruments for the detection of these STIs. We present relevant research toward addressing the gaps in developing NAAT-based STI POCT technologies and supplement this discussion with technologies for HIV and other infectious diseases, which may be adapted for STIs. Additionally, as case studies, we highlight the developmental trajectory of two different POCT technologies, including one approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Finally, we offer our perspectives on future development of NAAT-based STI POCT technologies.


Hsieh K, Melendez JH, Gaydos CA, Wang TH




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV- population
  • Testing
    • Testing
  • Co-infections
    • Chlamydia
    • Gonorrhea
    • Syphilis
    • Other


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