Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) spread primarily through person-to-person sexual contacts. Varied testing technologies used for the identification and analysis of the STD contracted comprise the definition of ‘diagnostic testing of STDs’. The location where diagnostic tests are delivered i.e. in the laboratories or at the point-of-care (POC) also encompasses the definition for ‘diagnostic testing of STDs’. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) defines POC testing as ‘any analytical test performed for a patient by a healthcare professional outside the conventional laboratory setting’.
Undiagnosed (that often results in untreated cases) STDs can have critical implications for reproductive, maternal and newborn health. For instance, 10% – 15% of women with untreated Chlamydia infection may develop symptomatic pelvic inflammatory disease (PID); progression of ~10% – 15% of PID cases lead to tubal factor infertility. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the causative agent for ~99% of cervical cancers in women. Globally, HPV infection results in ~500,000 cases of cervical cancer and ~300,000 cervical cancer deaths per year. Undiagnosed and untreated STDs such as Syphilis lead to Congenital Syphilis – that results in preterm labor with associated risks of pre-term birth, low birth weight, blindness and death of the neonate. Globally, over 1 million cases of Syphilis occur among pregnant women and a majority proportion of these were untreated or inadequately treated. Unless testing and treatment of Syphilis in pregnancy are readily available, over 50% of the pregnancies in women with Syphilis will result in adverse outcomes as stated above.
Prenatal transmission of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) infection is associated with a high risk of neurological problems and death. Undiagnosed and untreated STDs also increase the risk of both acquisition and transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), by a factor of up to two- to three-fold. Timely diagnosis of STDs is thus imperative for prevention of transmission, control and reducing the risk of incurable and fatal STD infections.
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Overview of the global diagnostic testing of STDs market
The market value of diagnostic testing of STDs was US$65.9 billion in 2012 and, registering a healthy CAGR of 8.1% during the forecast period of 2013 to 2019, is estimated to be worth US$108.5 billion by 2019.
The diagnostic testing of STDs market is largely driven by the growing incidences of STDs. Given this worrying fact, governments around the globe have begun implementing screening programs to diagnose STDs at an early stage and begin appropriate treatment. National screening programs are a great opportunity for POC and laboratory test providers, especially in diagnostic testing of STDs markets in the Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World regions. In addition, favorable reimbursements aimed at STD testing have also been issued, boosting the market for diagnostic testing of STDs.
On the other hand, the stigma associated with voluntary testing or client-initiated counseling and testing (CICT) of STDS is a major challenge in most countries even today. The irony is that a significant proportion of STD-infected patients are in regions that either do not have sufficient infrastructure for diagnostic testing of STDs or have no encouragement to get tested without being shamed. Apart from this, the presence of strict regulatory compliances for existing and new market players is restricting the growth of the diagnostic testing for STDs market.
Presently, North America and Europe dominate the global market owing to increased prevalence of STDs such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), chancroid, human papilloma virus (HPV), P&S syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), gonorrhea, and chlamydia.
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