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Testing for Sexually Transmitted Diseases in U.S. Public Health Laboratories in 2004

Dicker, Linda Webster PhD*; Mosure, Debra J. PhD*; Steece, Richard PhD; Stone, Katherine M. MD*

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: January 2007 - Volume 34 - Issue 1 - p 41-46
doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000222708.70594.8e

Objective: Appropriate laboratory testing practices are a critical part of sexually transmitted disease (STD) control.

Goal: The goal of this study was to describe the type and volume of STD tests performed in public health laboratories in the United States in 2004.

Study Design: A web-based survey was made available to 144 members of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

Results: One hundred fourteen laboratories responded (79%). Overall, 3,553,196 chlamydia tests and 3,461,151 gonorrhea tests were performed; 64.4% of chlamydia tests and 60.8% of gonorrhea tests were nucleic acid amplification tests. Ninety-four percent of laboratories performed syphilis testing. Few laboratories used type-specific tests for herpes simplex virus or used new tests for trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, or human papillomavirus.

Conclusions: This survey collected important data that can be used to monitor trends in STD testing practices in public health laboratories.

A survey of U.S. public health laboratories described the types and volume of sexually transmitted disease tests performed in 2004 and identified changes in testing practices since 2000.

From the *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of STD Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; and the †National Chlamydia Laboratory, Pierre, South Dakota

The authors thank the Association of Public Health Laboratories and Scott Becker, Executive Director, for their collaboration on this survey. The authors thank the following groups for the information they provided: Becton, Dickinson and Co.; Peter Kelley, Manager, Public Health, Gen-Probe, Inc.; Roche Diagnostics Corp.; Joe Randolph, Product Manager Microbiology, Trinity Biotech USA. In addition, the authors thank the following staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Kumar Batra, Terry Bolden, Sonali Bora, Sharon R. Burks, Jerrie T. Givens, Mark J. Lamias, Tonya Martin, and Max Mirabito for the development of the web-based survey; and Drs. John Papp, Victoria Pope and Kimberly Workowski for their review of the manuscript.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Correspondence: Debra J. Mosure, PhD, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Mailstop E41, Atlanta, GA 30333. E-mail:

Received for publication January 18, 2006, and accepted April 6, 2006.

© Copyright 2007 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association