Main | Thursday, March 13, 2008

New DNA Test For STDs In Gay Men

A new test would help find STDs in gay men, infections which escape detection by conventional means.
Many cases of sexually transmitted diseases are escaping detection because gay men are not being tested each year as advised, federal health officials said Wednesday. And if the men do show up, the officials added, many doctors and clinics are not following screening recommendations.

But more cases could be detected if the government approved new ways to use a type of DNA test that is already on the market, the officials and researchers said in a news conference at a scientific meeting in Chicago. They said the test, used in new ways, could detect twice as many cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia as standard tests.


The DNA test that Dr. Douglas and others described as promising is called NAAT, for nucleic acid amplification test. It is generally more accurate and easier to use, and it can detect at least twice as many gonorrhea and chlamydia infections in the throat and rectum, according to studies by Dr. Julius Schachter of the University of California, San Francisco, and others. Moreover, it is faster than the traditional bacterial culture tests.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved three NAATs to screen for gonorrhea and chlamydia in the genitalia, but not the throat or rectum. Dr. Schachter’s team, which included the San Francisco Department of Public Health, sought to determine whether the marketed NAATs were also effective in throat and rectal screening.

The C.D.C. is working with the food and drug agency and with test manufacturers to gather, analyze and coordinate the submission of data for federal approval of NAATs for use in the throat and rectum.
The San Francisco Department of Health is already using the new test.

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