The potential impact of new generation molecular point-of-care tests on gonorrhoea and chlamydia in a setting of high endemic prevalence

Ben B. Hui, David P. Wilson, James S. Ward, Rebecca J. Guy, John M. Kaldor, Matthew G. Law, Jane S. Hocking, David G. Regan

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Background Despite the availability of testing and treatment, bacterial sexually transmissible infections (STIs) continue to occur at endemic levels in many remote Indigenous communities in Australia. New generation molecular point-of-care (POC) tests have high sensitivity, comparable with conventional diagnostic tests, and have the potential to increase the impact of STI screening. Methods: We developed mathematical models of gonorrhoea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) and chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis) transmission in remote Indigenous communities in Australia to evaluate screening and treatment strategies that utilise POC tests. Results: The introduction of POC testing with 95% sensitivity could reduce the prevalence of gonorrhoea and chlamydia from 7.1% and 11.9% to 5.7% and 8.9%, respectively, under baseline screening coverage of 44% per year. If screening coverage is increased to 60% per year, prevalence is predicted to be reduced to 3.6% and 6.7%, respectively, under conventional testing, and further reduced to 1.8% and 3.1% with the introduction of POC testing. Increasing screening coverage to 80% per year will result in a reduction in the prevalence of gonorrhoea and chlamydia to 0.6% and 1.5%, respectively, and the virtual elimination of both STIs if POC testing is introduced. Conclusions: Modelling suggests that molecular POC tests of high sensitivity have great promise as a public health strategy for controlling chlamydia and gonorrhoea. However, evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of POC testing needs to be made before widespread implementation of this technology can be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-356
Number of pages9
JournalSexual Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2013


  • Australia
  • Indigenous
  • STIs
  • mathematical model
  • rapid tests
  • vulnerable populations.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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