PIP: More than 300 million new cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and chancroid will develop in 1997, with 85% occurring in developing countries. While diagnostic tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are sensitive and specific, their expense has led the World Health Organization to promote syndromic management of STDs. This approach, however, can lead to overtreatment with expensive drugs and may result in development of antibiotic-resistant strains of infection. Also, gonococcal and chlamydial infections are often asymptomatic in women. Because the presence of an STD facilitates HIV transmission, STD treatment is an important strategy in HIV/AIDS prevention and control. Since 1990, the STD Diagnostics Initiative (SDI) has sought to identify sensitive, specific, simple, stable, and inexpensive means of diagnosing STDs. Since 1994, 8 research proposals have received a total of $850,000 for a 3-year period. The efficient diagnostic tests sought by the SDI would encourage greater expenditures on STD treatment. The SDI believes that collaboration with industry should remove most of the constraints to product development and market penetration that exist in developing countries. Incentives to achieve the goals of the SDI include a million dollar prize offered by the Rockefeller Foundation for development of a rapid, sensitive, specific, simple, stable, and inexpensive assay. SDI can provide research funds, controlled access to pedigreed clinical specimens, and guidelines for effective evaluations. Industry has the market and the challenge to join with SDI in this effort.