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Simple urine test for chlamydia is effective in men

A simple urine test for diagnosing chlamydia in men could help reduce the risks of persistent infection and transmission to sexual partners, the results of a BMJ study have found.

Men aged under 25 are targeted by practices as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP), but tests used are costly, technically complex and can take several days to generate results.

In a search for clinically valid alternatives to conventional nucleic acid amplification based tests such as the polymerase chain reaction, researchers tested just over 1,200 men aged over 16 years attending two clinics in the UK.

The rapid chlamydia test achieved a higher level of sensitivity, at 82.6%, and specificity, at 98.5%. It also provided results within one hour, allowing positive individuals to be offered treatment while still at the clinic.

The test is suitable as a diagnostic tool for primary care, and help reduce the risks of persistent infection and onward transmission, the researchers said.

‘The performance of the new test indicates that it would be an effective diagnostic tool for chlamydial infection in men', lead researcher Dr Helen Lee, a reader in medical biotechnology at the University of Cambridge, concluded in the BMJ.

‘The availability of test results within an hour allows for immediate treatment and contact tracing, potentially reducing the risks of persistent infection and onward transmission.

‘The test could also provide a simple and reliable alternative to nucleic acid amplification assays for testing of male urine in chlamydial screening programmes in high prevalence settings.'

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