Laboratory tests used in US public health laboratories for sexually transmitted diseases, 2000

Sex Transm Dis. 2004 May;31(5):259-64. doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000124609.84050.f3.


Background and objectives: Public health laboratories are a critical component of sexually transmitted disease (STD) control in the United States.

Goal: The goal of this study was to describe the types and volume of STD tests performed in U.S. public health laboratories in 2000.

Study design: A survey was mailed to 123 members of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

Results: Eighty-one percent of 100 laboratories responded. Overall, 3294739 chlamydia tests and 3088142 gonorrhea tests were done; 62.4% of chlamydia tests and 63.6% of gonorrhea tests were DNA probes. Fifty-six percent of laboratories performed rapid plasma reagin (RPR) tests and 55% performed Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) tests; the number of RPR tests performed was twice that of VDRL tests. Few laboratories used new technologies for bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis. Eighteen percent of laboratories performed herpes simplex virus serology; however, most used inaccurate tests. No laboratories performed human papillomavirus tests.

Conclusions: This survey documents for the first time STD tests performed in U.S. public health laboratories.

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections / prevention & control
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis
  • Gonorrhea / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Laboratories / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Syphilis / diagnosis
  • Syphilis / prevention & control
  • United States
  • United States Public Health Service / statistics & numerical data*
  • Utilization Review
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data