Diagnostic challenges of sexually transmitted infections in resource-limited settings

Future Microbiol. 2009 Dec;4(10):1271-82. doi: 10.2217/fmb.09.100.


The global burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is highest in the developing world where access to laboratory services is limited. Sophisticated laboratory diagnostic tests using noninvasive specimens have enabled developed countries to screen and diagnose curable STIs in a variety of settings, but control programs in resource-limited settings continue to struggle to find simple rapid tests that can provide adequate performance in the absence of laboratory services. While recent technological advances and investments in research and development may soon yield improved STI tests that can make an impact, these tests will need to be deployed within a health system that includes: regulatory oversight, quality assurance, good supply-chain management, effective training, information systems and a sound surveillance system to monitor disease trends, inform policy decisions and assess the impact of interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / trends*
  • Developing Countries
  • Health Services Administration
  • Humans
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis*