ECDC launched today a new report with an overview of recent technical advances in diagnostic testing.
Effective testing strategies are vital for the control of sexually transmitted infections (STI), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) as accurate testing allows treatment of those infected and subsequent reduction in infectiousness. In addition, it leads to a reduction of clinical consequences, identification and treatment of potentially infected partners as well as opportunities for health promotion and behaviour modification due to awareness of infection.
Recent changes in the field of testing for STI, HIV, HBV and HCV include the widespread implementation of nucleic acid amplification technologies (NAATs) for chlamydia and gonorrhoea diagnosis or the development of HIV screening tests that are easy to use and give a result almost immediately.
Novel approaches in testing cover both technical advances in STI, HIV and hepatitis B and C tests as well as new opportunities for initiating and conducting testing and managing results, treatment and surveillance that changes in technology facilitate.
The report Novel approaches to testing for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and hepatitis B and C in Europe concludes that new testing technologies combined with modern information and communication systems will enable the development of novel testing pathways. These novel approaches have the potential to improve access to (and hence the uptake of) testing among individuals and population groups at risk of infections as well as increase the proportion of infected individuals treated earlier in infection. These novel approaches will have a clinical impact by improving the prognosis for those with infections as well as the public health impact by reducing onward transmission and thus incidence and prevalence of infection.