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Cost-Effectiveness of a Dual Non-Treponemal/Treponemal Syphilis Point-of-Care Test to Prevent Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa

Owusu-Edusei, Kwame Jr. PhD, PMP; Gift, Thomas L. PhD; Ballard, Ronald C. PhD

doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3182260987
Original Study

Background: A dual nontreponemal/treponemal point-of-care test (Dual-POC) that simultaneously detects both nontreponemal and treponemal antibodies has been developed and evaluated. In this study, we compare the health and economic outcomes of the new test with existing syphilis tests/testing algorithms in a high prevalence setting.

Methods: We used a cohort decision analysis model to examine 4 testing/screening algorithms; the Dual-POC test, the laboratory-based rapid plasma reagin and Treponema pallidum haemagglutination assay (RPR+TPHA) algorithm, an onsite RPR testing, and point-of-care treponemal immunochromatographic strip (ICS) testing. Outcomes included miscarriage, stillbirth, congenital syphilis, low birth weight, and neonatal death. Disability-adjusted life-years were estimated for all health outcomes. The analytic horizon was the life expectancy for the mother and child.

Results: For a cohort of 1000 pregnant women in a historically high syphilis prevalence population (10% infected and 15% previously infected), the model predicted a total of 39 adverse pregnancy outcomes if no serologic screening were performed; 13 for the laboratory-based RPR+TPHA; 11 for the on-site RPR strategy; 5 for the Dual-POC strategy; and 2 for the ICS strategy. On the basis of assumption that the cost of ICS and the Dual-POC tests were the same, the ICS strategy was the most cost saving (saved $30,000) followed by the Dual-POC strategy (saved $27,000).

Conclusions: The dual-POC test may help save cost in resource-poor settings where disease prevalence (and loss to follow-up) is high, while substantially reducing overtreatment.

The new dual nontreponemal/treponemal point-of-care test was more cost-saving than the onsite rapid plasma reagin and laboratory-based rapid plasma reagin and Treponema pallidum haemagglutination assay tests. However, the onsite immunochromatographic strip test was more cost-saving than the new dual nontreponemal/treponemal point-of-care test.

From the Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Correspondence: Kwame Owusu-Edusei, Jr., PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, MS E-80, Atlanta, GA 30333. E-mail:

Received for publication December 23, 2010, and accepted May 24, 2011.

© Copyright 2011 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association