What's the Point? How Point-of-Care STI Tests Can Impact Infected Patients

Point Care. 2010 Mar 1;9(1):36-46. doi: 10.1097/POC.0b013e3181d2d8cc.


Point-of-care (POC) tests are an important strategy to address the epidemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among both adolescents and young adults. While access to care and confidentiality are major barriers to STI care, POC tests allow the clinician to provide immediate and confidential test results and treatment. In addition, POC test results constitute a "teachable moment"; that is, an opportunity to provide immediate feedback to the patient that may impact his/her risk behaviors. This paper reviews published data and manufacturer's product literature describing current point-of-care STI tests, including studies of test performance as well as impact on treatment intervals and disease spread. It presents theoretical and proposed pitfalls and solutions of implementing POC tests in clinical settings, non-traditional settings, and home care venues. We reviewed the available STI tests according to the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria for judging POC tests: the "ASSURRED" criteria (Affordable, Sensitive, Specific, User-friendly, Rapid and Robust, Equipment-free, Delivered).